Complete Notes (.pdf)
April 22, 2010 – The Truman Softball team will honor two seniors and play four conference games this weekend at home. The Bulldogs will honor Erica LaCombe and Richelle vanGennip on Saturday against nationally-ranked Nebraska-Omaha while also hosting Northwest Missouri on Friday.
The Bulldogs are 6-6 and in sixth place in the conference and are looking to return to the MIAA postseason tournament after missing last season’s event. The top eight teams advance to the tournament in Kansas City and the Bulldogs have eight games remaining in their league slate.
Up first will be a key battle with Northwest Missouri on Friday. The Bearcats are ninth with a 5-7 record and a 21-18 overall mark but defeated the Bulldogs back on March 19 12-3 in a non-conference game.
Saturday, Truman will face one of the top teams in the nation in Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks have won their last 12 games and are now #25th in the latest Nation Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II poll and are fifth in the NCAA South Central regional rankings.
Following those four league games, Truman will again step outside the conference for a doubleheader at Lincoln (Mo.) on Tuesday.
In addition to the game against the Mavericks on Saturday, LaCombe and vanGennip will be honored by the team as the lone seniors.
LaCombe has been a four-year starter playing in 170 games and earning all-conference honorable mention accolades twice. She is on pace to have a career year at the plate despite a sluggish start to the season. LaCombe started the season on a 3-for-34 (.088) slump but has since been on a terror going 27-of-69 (.391) with an 11-game hitting streak, two home runs, four doubles and 11 RBIs.
She was named to the MIAA Crossover all-tournament team last week after hitting .538 last week with 10 runs scored and two, three-hit games. Her 43 stolen bases ties her for sixth all-time in Truman history.
vanGennip made her own history this season as the junior college transfer has become a dominating hurler in the MIAA. vanGennip pitched the first no-hitter in five years for the Bulldogs last Friday in a 6-0 win over Southwest Baptist at the MIAA Crossover tournament.
vanGennip struck out 33 hitters last week and is within 34 strikeouts of the Truman all-time single season record held by Loni Wedemeier (228).
In her two years as a Bulldog, vanGennip is 13-20 with a 2.59 ERA and 281 strikeouts. Opponents have hit just .207 against vanGennip in 53 appearances as a pitcher.
vanGennip has also contributed at the plate with four home runs this season and 16 RBIs. She has two grand slams this year and is hitting .341 in just 41 at bats.
A LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS:
Northwest Missouri has split their last 10 games and picked up two league victories in their last time out. The Bearcats swept Pittsburg State 8-6 and 4-2 on Wednesday in Maryville and hit four home runs during the doubleheader.
Erin Leslie leads five Bearcats that are hitting above .300 on the season with a .435 average and a team leading 33 runs batted in. Leslie is also 16-of-18 in stolen bases as the Bearcats have only been thrown out three times as a team.
Pitching has been Northwest’s Achilles heel. Opponents are hitting .354 against the Bearcats and have 28 home runs. Jenna Creger has a staff-best 3.51 ERA with a 9-11 record.
Northwest used two big innings of five runs apiece to defeat the Bulldogs back on March 19 in Emporia, Kan. Kristen Hessel knocked a grand slam in the five-run fourth and Kit Daugherty had a three-run bomb in the seventh as the Bearcats roughed up vanGennip and Ashley Rotkvich for 12 runs. Creager got the win for Northwest tossing a five-hitter and allowing three runs.
Nebraska-Omaha brings in one of the best pitching staffs in the nation in Beth Haley, Lindsey Slocum and Melissa Negrete. The threesome has a combine 1.94 ERA and 246 strikeouts. They have 11 shutouts in their 36 wins as the Mavericks have moved back into the national top 25.
Treightin Yates leads a potent offensive output with a .451 batting average. Seven starters are hitting above .300 and the team has hit 50 home runs and scored 294 runs.
This is the first meeting this season between UNO and Truman as the Mavericks swept both games in Omaha last year (5-3; 9-1).
As powerful as the UNO team has been this year, Tuesday’s opponent has hit just one home run. The Lincoln Blue Tigers are hitting just .226 as a team with Brenda Siegler the lone player batting above .300.
Rebekah Spencer has a team-low 4.20 ERA but has struck out just eight hitters in 55 innings pitched.
This will be the first meeting between the two schools this year as they were previously scheduled to play back in February but was cancelled due to weather. Truman owns a commanding 37-2 record over Lincoln.
BULLDOGS IN THE MIAA
Past the halfway point of the conference season the Bulldogs are hitting .276 in 12 league games with freshman Christine Ulses leading the way with a .452 batting mark. Three other Bulldogs (Alex Weber, Laura Miller and Erica LaCombe) are each hitting above .300 in conference games.
Ulses is tied for sixth in hitting in conference only games while Weber is fourth in runs scored with nine.
vanGennip is leading in conference only games in strikeouts with 54 and is third overall in ERA with her 1.82 mark.
BULLDOGS IN APRIL:
Truman is hitting .286 during the month of April and has five players hitting above .300. Erica LaCombe is leading the way with a .438 average during the month while Richelle vanGennip is hitting .400.
vanGennip leads the team with 16 runs batted in and four home runs while Meredith Kusky is second in runs driven in with 11.
The Bulldogs are 27 of 30 in the stolen base department with LaCombe leading the way with eight.
Richelle vanGennip is 4-1 and has fanned 70 hitters thus far in the month while walking just 21. Opponents are hitting just .153 in 46 innings pitched.
Beth Schnurbusch is 3-3 with a 3.16 ERA and has logged 37 innings this month. She is second on the team in appearances with eight and has four complete games.
- Only two Bulldogs have appeared in all 43 games this season. Junior Alex Weber is the only Bulldog to play and start all 43 games while senior Erica LaCombe has started 42.
- The Bulldogs have stolen 75-of-89 bases thus far while opponents are33-of-43. Weber has been successful on 23-of-24 attempts. Truman swiped just 35 bases in 2009.
- Christine Ulses and Meridith Kusky lead the team with 18 RBIs. While Ulses is joined by Kristin Grossman and Richelle vanGennip for the team lead with four home runs.
- Two Bulldogs, Erica LaCombe and Laura Miller have had 10+ game hitting streaks this season. LaCombe hit safely in 11 games while Miller had 10 straight. Both were snapped against Quincy University on April 21.
- The pitching staff has a 3.47 ERA with Richelle vanGennip leading the way with a 1.88 ERA.
- vanGennip leads the Bulldogs with 194 strikeouts and set a career high with 14 strikeouts in a game earlier this season against Oklahoma Panhandle St.
- vanGennip tossed the first no-hitter since Loni Wedemeier in 2005 and has two one-hitters in 2010.
- Truman pitchers have struck out 256 opposing batters and issued 116 walks. Opponents are hitting .257 against the hurlers.
Truman will hope to clinch a spot in the MIAA tournament as they will face Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State in a pair of road conference games next weekend. It is the final weekend of league games.