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Drake Softball Set to Start MVC Play, Travel to Indiana State this Weekend

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: March 15, 2012
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THIS WEEK IN DRAKE SOFTBALL

Drake (7-14) will open Missouri Valley Conference play when they travel to Terre Haute, Ind. for three games against the Indiana State Sycamores (10-4).  The two teams will play two games on Saturday beginning at noon and will close the series on Sunday with a final game that will also begin at noon.  Live stats will be available on www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.

INDIANA STATE SYCAMORES

Head coach Shane Bouman is in his first season as head coach at Indiana State.  Bouman was previously the head coach at Iowa Lakes Community College and South Dakota State. In between he was the pitching coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  The Sycamores were selected to finish tenth in the 2012 preseason MVC poll.  Shelby Wilson leads the Sycamores with a .432 average and 14 RBI with five stolen bases.  Lindsay Beisser is the top pitcher for ISU with a 5-2 record and a 0.92 ERA with 71 strikeouts.

LAST TIME OUT

The Drake Bulldogs finished 1-3 at the Lady Bison Classic with a win over Alabama State, 11-3 and losses to Eastern Michigan, 0-4; Lipscomb, 2-5; and Middle Tennessee, 1-2.

Starting Fast

Freshman Hayley Nybo (Minnetonka, Minn.) is having a nice start to her first season as a Bulldog. The Minnesota native is hitting .339 with a team leading four home runs, six doubles and 21 RBI along with a .644 slugging percentage.  Nybo is tied for the lead in the Valley in home runs and doubles, is third in RBI and tied for third in hitting percentage.

SETTLING

Jordan Gronewold (Carlisle, Iowa) has settled in her role as the number one pitcher for the Bulldogs. Since her start against Arkansas on March 3 when she gave up five runs on eight hits, the sophomore has only allowed two or mores earned runs in a start just once since. In her last five starts, Gronewold has allowed six earned runs.  She took a tough loss against Middle Tennessee going seven innings, striking out 10 and allowed just two earned runs.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

The Bulldogs have started out running the bases this season with 44 stolen bases and have had just seven baserunners caught stealing. Drake averages 2.10 stolen bases per game, which is 17th in the country.  The Bulldogs lead the MVC in stolen bases and have eight more than number two, Bradley.  Amy Pierce (Olathe, Kan.) and Lindsay Vande Wall (Prairie City, Iowa) each have nine stolen bases. Macie Silliman (Winterest, Iowa) has eleven stolen bases to lead all MVC players.

SIT EM DOWN

The Drake Bulldog pitchers have 127 strikeouts this season, which is second in the Missouri Valley. Gronewold leads the conference with 82 strikeouts.

THREE STRIKES

Gronewold and Rebekah Schmidt (Cottage Grove, Minn.) recorded two of the first double digit strikeout games in the MVC this season.  Gronewold had 10 strikeouts against Western Illinois and Schmidt had 10 strikeouts against Green Bay.

HEATING UP

Vande Wall is hitting .387 in her last ten games with 12 hits, two doubles, three RBI and four stolen bases. The junior leads the Bulldogs with 21 hits this season and is hitting .339. She has one home run, six doubles, and six RBI.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Nybo was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for the period of February 20-26, the league announced on Feb. 27.  Nybo went 9-17 with four doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI in the five games at the UTA tournament in Arlington, Texas. In her 17 at- bats, Nybo did not strike out. Her contributions helped Drake finished 3-2 in the tournament and an overall third-place. Nybo finished 3-4 with three runs, two doubles, a home run and eight RBI in the consolation game against Arkansas Pine Bluff.

START FAST

Drake will look to start the MVC season like last season when the Bulldogs ripped off nine straight wins to begin conference play. Drake won 16 of their first 17 games on the way to a 19-6 overall regular season record.

FAMILAR FACE

Indiana State pitching coach Amanda Zust served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs in 2011.  Zust was a standout pitcher at Des Moines East and with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

BACK IN BLUE

Drake, which finished the 2011 season 34-21 overall and 19-6 in the MVC, finished in second place behind Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference.  Drake advanced to the MVC tournament championship game before being defeated by Missouri State on their home field in a wild 7-4 affair. 

The Bulldogs are coached by Rich Calvert, who is in his tenth season as head coach.  Calvert has seven starters returning in 2012 and will have a roster of ten freshmen and sophomores. 

Returning MVC All-Conference second-team member, Torey Craddock (Tucson, Ariz.), will provide leadership for the Bulldogs along with seniors Rose Magaddino (Tucson, Ariz.) and Jaimie Duffek (Brookfield, Ill.). Craddock was tied for the most doubles in the Valley with 14 last season. In Division I, Drake ranked No. 18 in stolen bases per game with Sam West   (Kearney, Mo.) leading the team and the Valley with 21 stolen bases.

Sophomore Jordan Gronewald and freshman Rebekah Schmidt will spend a lot of time on the mound this season after the graduation of aces Jenna DeLong and Brynne Dordel.

BULLDOGS PICKED SIXTH IN MVC IN 2012

The Drake University softball team was picked sixth in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference preseason coaches' poll, the league announced Jan. 26. The Bulldogs garnered 54 points in a vote by the league's head softball coaches.

SOFTBALL SIGNS THREE TO 2012 CLASS

The Drake University softball team added three high school standouts to its 2012-13 roster in November of 2011. The team signed utility player Chelsea Blaylock (Des Moines, Iowa/Lincoln), Outfielder Seyerra DuBois (Carlisle, Iowa/Carlisle), and pitcher/outfielder Mariah McKinnon (Oxford, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) to National Letters of Intent.

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