Redhawks Head to Starkville, Mississippi to Play in Bulldog Round-Robin
Feb. 23, 2006
STARKVILLE, Miss. (Thursday, February 23, 2006) The Redhawks softball team kicks-off their 2006 season this weekend as they travel south to Starkville, Mississippi to play in the Bulldog Round-Robin Friday, February 24 through Sunday February 26 at Mississippi State Softball Field. The Redhawks play in the first game of the tournament as they face Alcorn State at 10:00 a.m.
The Redhawks saw their season opener pushed back to this weekend as their scheduled appearance at the Tennessee-Martin Invitational was cancelled do to winter weather conditions. The Redhawks will play six games in three days (two games a day).
All 12 games of the tournament will be played at the MSU Softball Field and admission is free. Every game of the Bulldog Round-Robin can also be followed in progress via a live stats link at the official Internet home of the Mississippi State athletic department, www.MStateAthletics.com.
Following the their game with Alcorn State (1-8) the Redhawks will face host Mississippi State at 4:00 p.m. On Saturday the Redhawks will open up with Northwestern State at 10:00 a.m. and will then face Alcorn State again at noon. The Redhawks close the tournament with games against Northwestern State at noon and Mississippi State at 2:00 p.m.
The Redhawks return six position starters and a pair of starting pitchers off of last season's 27-28 ball club that finished fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Among their returnees is a pair of 20+-RBI hitters, including junior outfielder Lindsay Pickering who led the team with a .343 batting average in 2005. Michelle Summers, who drove in 25 RBI on 10 home runs as a rookie last season, also returns for SEMO. Defensively, the Redhawks will likely be paced by sophomore southpaw Elaine Fisher who turned in an impressive 8-6 record and a 1.69 ERA in 2005.
Alcorn State is fresh off an 0-2 showing at the Centenary tournament, having dropped a 16-3 decision to the host Ladies, before falling 8-1 to Nicholls State in the second half of a tournament-opening doubleheader. The Braves are paced by a trio of hitters at or above the .300 plateau, including junior outfielder Tonya Nelms who leads the team with a .417 (10-for-24) batting average that complements four extra-base hits (2 HR), a trio of RBI and nine runs scored.
From the circle, Alcorn carries a collective 6.87 team ERA, led by Canadian Krista Mueller's 1-7 record and 5.66 ERA. Mueller has made appearances in all nine games for ASU this season.
Having returned six position starters and a pair of starting pitchers from last season's 35-28 ball club, Northwestern State (5-5) has split its first 10 games of the campaign, including a last at-bat, comeback loss at 15th-ranked Baylor on Sunday. A balanced squad, the Demons are currently toting a .242 team batting average, paced by junior utility player Margaret Patterson's .429 (6-for-14) clip. Defensively, NSU will carry a 2.20 team ERA into Starkville, led by the exploits of junior righthander Amanda Glenn (3-3, 2.02 ERA).
The host Bulldogs (9-0) are sporting a program-best perfect start to the current campaign In the process of matching the school's fourth-longest winning streak, the Bulldogs have outscored its nine opponents by a 49-5 count, including a trio of mercy rule victories. State's .341 team batting average currently ranks fifth among the 11 SEC softball-playing institutions, while its 0.48 team ERA is second. Five Bulldogs are hitting at or above the .348 mark, including redshirt sophomore Hayle Guess who is maintaining a league-best .567 (17-for-30) batting clip with seven RBI and 11 runs scored.
State's pitchers have allowed opponents to hit a paltry .163, while turning in five shutouts already this season. MSU's three-armed staff has also tallied eight complete games, while maintaining a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly 7-to-1.