TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—Coming off the best start to a season since the 1990 season, the Indiana State softball team (4-1) will now repack its bags and head to Auburn, Ala. Thursday to take part in the Tiger Invitational hosted by Auburn University. The Sycamores earned four straight wins to open the 2013 season by defeating IPFW, Northern Colorado, twice, and North Dakota before falling to Iowa State. After five games complete, Indiana State has seven players batting .300 or over and has a team batting average of .343. The Sycamores will now turn their attention toward the Tiger Invitational where they will play five games in four days. The Sycamores will kick off the weekend with a 7 p.m. game against Auburn on Thursday evening before playing Kansas on Friday, Bryant and Chattanooga on Saturday and Tennessee State on Sunday. Live stats for all games along with full box scores and recaps can be foun online at GoSycamores.com. A live audio broadcast for ISU’s games against Auburn and Kansas will also be available free of charge online at GoSycamores.com.
Scouting The Auburn Tigers
The Sycamores and Tigers have previously met just one time with the Tigers holding the 1-0 all-time series advantage. During that contest, the Tigers defeated the Sycamores 11-3. The Tigers enter Thursday’s game with a 5-0 record and are led by Brandi Melero and Morgan Estell who are each batting .500 with seven hits. On the mound for the Tigers, Hilary Mavromat leads with a 0.00 ERA over 7.2 innings pitched with a 1-0 record and a save with seven strikeouts.
Scouting The Jayhawks
This will be the eighth meeting between the Sycamores and Jayhawks with Kansas holding a 6-1 all-time series advantage. The first meeting between the two teams came during the 1988 season when KU defeated the Sycamores 3-0. The two teams last met during the 2008 season with Kansas winning a 4-3 contest. The Jayhawks enter the weekend with a 4-1 record and have been led by Alex Hugo with a .667 batting average off 10-15 from the plate with nine RBI’s. On the mound, Kelsey Kessler leads the team with a 1.15 ERA over 18.1 innings pitched for a 1-1 overall record with 20 strikeouts.
Scouting The Bulldogs
The Sycamores and Bulldogs have previously met two times with the Sycamores winning both contests. Indiana State last faced Bryant during the 2011 season, winning 5-4. Last season the Bulldogs finished 25-14 and were led by Madeline Velasquez with a .385 batting average. Bryant also returns its top five hitters from a year ago. The Bulldogs will also return both pitchers from last season in Brittany Hart and Jennifer Jacob who had ERA’s of 5.35 and 5.79, respectively. This will be the first action of the season for Bryant.
Scouting The Mocs
This will be the third all-time meeting between the Sycamores and Mocs with Chattanooga winning both previous games. After finishing 40-15 during the 2012 season, the Mocs enter the weekend with a 1-4 record. So far this season they have been led by Alyssa Taylor who leads seven Chattanooga players with batting averages over .300. On the mound, the Mocs have four different pitchers who have ssen action with Kaisey Carson leading the way with a 1.75 ERA.
Scouting The Tennessee State Tigers
This will be the second all-time meeting between the Sycamores and Tennessee State with Indiana State holding the 1-0 series advantage. The Tigers enter the weekend with an 0-3 record and have been led by Kiarra Freeman and Kate Morris who each hold .333 batting averages through three games. Olivia Gamache has led the Tigers pitching staff with a 5.53 ERA.
Off To A Hot Start
After starting the 2013 season 4-0, the Indiana State softball team is off to one of the hottest starts in recent memory. The Sycamores four straight games to open a season is the most since the 1990 season when they won 14 straight games to open the season. The Sycamores 9-0 win is also just the sixth time in program history that an ISU team has shut out an opponent in a season opener since 2003. It also marks the first win in a season opener since the 2009 season.
Swinging Those Bats
Through their first 5 games of the season the Sycamores have yet to be out hit by an opponent. The Sycamores out hit their first four opponents before tying Iowa State with seven hits each. Indiana State has also out hit their opponents by a margin of 49-31 and is a perfect 4-0 when they out hit their opposition.
Good Speed Aboard
Junior Morgan Allee has made an immediate impact for Indiana State in her first five games in a Sycamore uniform. Allee has punished opposing teams with a .526 on base percentage and nine RBII’s. However, Allee has done even more damage on the base pads with six stolen bases in seven attempts. As a team the Sycamores have stolen 13 bases which nearly doubles their total from this point in the season one year ago.
Getting Back In The Swing Of Things
After being away from the sport of softball for more than two years, sophomore pitcher Stephanie Fougerousse opened her collegiate career with a 2-0 record on the mound. Fougerousse made four appearances and two starts for the Sycamores and finished opening weekend with a 1.98 ERA over her 17.2 innings pitched. Fougerousse also struck out eight opposing batters. After allowing her first career batter faced to come around to score, Fougerousse found her rhythm and allowed just four other runs to score over her last 16.2 innings pitched.
Returners Are Key
While they lost four letter winners and three starters to graduation, the Indiana State fielding alignment features much of the same as last year. The Sycamores return junior Shelby Wilson and sophomores Megan Stone and Ashley Dickerson to hold down the infield with newcomer Morgan Allee to fill the final sport. The Sycamores also return three key outfielders who spent significant time in the position during the 2012 campaign in: seniors Mackenzie Connelly and Halee Myers as well as sophomore Megan Bunting. Sophomore pitcher Ashli Scott will return to help fill the void left by Lindsey Beisser due to graduation and freshman Meredith Henriksen will look to help fill the spot left open be the graduation of Olivia Andres behind the plate.
Bring ‘Em On
The Indiana State softball team will have an opportunity to test themselves throughout the early part of the 2013 season as they will take on a number of teams being nationally recognized. Going into the first weekend of the season, they are set to play the #9 team in the country in the USA Today/NFCA poll in Georgia as well as Tulsa and Illinois State who are receiving votes. The Sycamores will also play Auburn who is ranked #40 in the College Sports Madness Pre Season Top 44.
Moving On Up
Just five games into her Sycamore career, junior Morgan Allee is already making a push towards the ISU record book in stolen bases. Allee has recorded 6 stolen bases in five games and needs just seven more to break into the ISU single season top ten.
Despite a disappointing end to the 2012 regular season, the Sycamores found themselves in the ISU record book with their ability to steal bases. As a team, the Sycamores recorded the sixth highest total on the season stolen bases list with 53, just one away from fifth place.
Sophomore Megan Stone put herself in the ISU record book during her freshman campaign with her speed on the base pads. Stone finished her freshman season in a tie for seventh place on the single season list with 15, just one away from a tie for sixth place.
New Faces, New Team
While eight players return from the 2012 roster, the 2013 addition of the Indiana State softball team will feature 10 new faces. Junior Morgan Allee and sophomore Stephanie Fougerousse join freshmen Alexa Cavin, Meredith Henriksen, Halle Humphrey, Sarah Lawrence, Abbie Malchow, Kelsey Montgomery, Paige Schreiner and Mikayla Grindle.
Follow ISU Softball Online
Keep up to date with Sycamore softball all over the web this season. Full stats, box scores and recaps will continue to be available on www.GoSycamores.com. Every home game along with select road games can also be heard world wide free of charge online at GoSycamores.com and select home games will offer a free webcast. However, you can also follow the Sycamores on Facebook at Facebook.com/SycamoreSoftball with the Indiana State University Softball fan page or on Twitter at Twitter.com/IndStSoftball.
On To The Next One
Following this weekend’s Tiger Invitational, Indiana State will travel south to take part in the Blues City Classic hosted by the University of Memphis. The Sycamores will play Wright State and Memphis on Friday, Feb. 22 before taking on UMKC and Nicholls State on Saturday, Feb. 23.