Softball Prepares to Host Three-Game Weekend Series with JAX State
April 15, 2004
Cape Girardeau, Mo. - After posting a thrilling 10 inning 3-1 victory over Tennessee Tech last weekend, the squad is ready to take on OVC foe Jacksonville State. This will be the first time the two squads meet in OVC competition, as JSU is a newcomer to the league this season. The squads will pair-off for a doubleheader this Saturday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m. Then they will conclude the weekend series with a third game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Scouting Southeast... The Otahks (11-24, 6-4 OVC) come into the game ranked third in the OVC and on a one-game win streak. Senior second baseman Suzi Lair doubled her way to a Southeast, extra-inning win, last time out. She drove in senior shortstop Amy Murphy for the winning run, while junior Kelly Birk added an insurance run with an RBI-single, driving in Lair.
Southeast has three batters neck-in-neck for the team leading position. Lair claims the top position, hitting .311, while Victoria Torrez and Jaime Birk are batting .310 and .309 respectively. Torrez's cautious eye at the plate makes her the team leader in on-base percentage with a .424 average. Freshman outfielder Flo Davidson has come on late as one of the squad's top batters, hitting .417 against conference opponents.
On the mound, K. Birk is providing the squad with the most stable pitching threat. In 77.2 innings of work, she has compiled a 1.98 ERA, while posting 24 strikeouts. While junior Amy Fahnestock leads the squads in wins with five and has struck out a team-high 40 batters in 69.1 innings of work.
Scouting JSU... The Gamecocks enter the weekend on a two-game losing stride and ranking sixth in the OVC. After downing Tennessee-Martin 10-2 last weekend, they dropped two the final two of the series 8-6 and 6-3. However, they have the league's second-best overall record and rank second and third in the nation in batting average (.337) and scoring (7.31 rpg) respectively. The squad also leads the OVC in home runs, cracking our 70 so far this season.
"JSU is a very good hitting team, we know they will get their hits," remarked head coach Lana Richmond. "We must prevent giving them extra base runners with walks and defensive mistakes that will score runs when they get hits."
Leading the way for the squad is junior catcher Melinda McDonald, batting .453 on the season, while posting a team-leading .494 on base percentage and a .743 slugging percentage. Also hitting over .400 for the Gamecocks is freshman outfielder Daniella Pappano, while claiming the squad's RBI leader position with 55. Claiming the squad's homerun crown is senior shortstop Rachel Courtneyman as she has cracked 14 out of the park thus far. Pappano is right on her heals with 13.
"From scouting, we've learned that they can go for a few innings without any hits and then explode at any time," said Richmond. "Throughout the OVC they've been in slugfests, so we know we'll have the opportunity to score of lot of runs. However if we get ahead, we can't get comfortable because no lead is safe."
On the mound the bullpen hasn't been quite as effective for the Gamecocks. Leading the pitching staff is junior pitcher Breanne Oleman, posting a 7-4 record with an ERA of 2.65 in 54.1 innings of work. Freshman pitcher Katy White is the mainstay on the mound, with 126 innings pitched. She has posted a 12-9 record with a 5.50 ERA.
On Deck... a four-game conference road tour as they squad will face Austin Peay and Morehead State. The Otahks will face the Lady Govs in Clarksville, Tenn. next Wednesday, April 13 at 2:00 p.m., before heading on to Morehead, Ky. for a three-game weekend series. Saturday, April 24 the first pitch of a doubleheader will be thrown by the Golden Eagles at noon, followed by another noon game on Sunday.