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Drake Set to Play Illinois State in MVC Tournament

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: May 11, 2012
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THIS WEEK IN DRAKE SOFTBALL

Drake is the No. 3 seed at the 2012 MVC tournament in Carbondale, Ill. The Bulldogs will play No.2-seed Illinois State at 2:35 p.m. Friday. The winner advances to the championship game to face the winner of No. 1 Northern Iowa and No. 4 Southern Illinois on Saturday at 2:07 p.m. 

SAME OLD, SAME OLD

In 2012, the State Farm MVC Softball Championship is sticking with the double-bye, single-elimination format that was played during the 2008-2009 and 2011 Championships.

DRAKE AT THE MVC

The Bulldogs have a 28-35 all-time record at the MVC tournament, which has been played every year since 1983. Drake has won three tournament titles and finished runner-up twice.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS STATE

Illinois State (33-21, 18-8 MVC) took two of three against Drake this season in Normal, Ill. Senior Jordan Birch (21-12) is the top pitcher for the Redbirds with a 1.56 ERA and she has struck out 209 batters to just 37 walks. At the plate, Jhavon Hamilton is the top hitter at .310 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI. 

LAST TIME OUT

Drake topped sixth-seeded Missouri State (25-26, 12-14 MVC), 2-1, Thursday evening. Jordan Gronewold (Carlisle, Iowa) picked up the win for the Bulldogs, pitching four innings and recording five strikeouts. She also hit a solo home run to seal the win for Drake.

THREE SENIORS

Torey Craddock (Tucson, Ariz.) has started in 214 out of 215 games in her four seasons and has not missed a start in the past three seasons. Jaimie Duffek (Brookfield, Ill.)  has started 93 games in her four seasons. She was named to the 2010-11 All-MVC Academic Honor Roll and is the recipient of the Drake Presidential Scholarship. Rose Magaddino (Tucson, Ariz.) has started 40 games this season behind the plate and over ninety games in her four seasons. This season she has helped the Bulldog’s young pitchers rank in the top 10 of nearly every Missouri Valley Conference pitching statistical category.

FOUR BULLDOGS HONORED AS ALL-CONFERENCE

Craddock, Gronewold, and Amy Pierce (Olathe, Kan.) were selected to the all-MVC first team, while freshman Hayley Nybo (Minnetonka, Minn.) was selected to the all-MVC second team. Craddock, who was selected to the all-MVC second team in 2011, is hitting .283 with eight home runs, 28 RBI and 29 runs scored. Gronewold ranks in the top 10 in nearly every MVC pitching statistical category. Pierce is hitting .286 this season with 12 doubles, one home run, 25 RBI and 30 runs scored. The speedy shortstop leads the MVC with 25 stolen bases and has only been caught-stealing three times. Her four triples this season are tied for the most in the Valley. Nybo is having an outstanding first season as a Bulldog. The third baseman is hitting .327 with nine home runs, 13 doubles, 42 RBI, 54 hits, 94 total bases and a .580 slugging percentage. She leads the team in all seven categories. Nybo is ninth in the MVC in average, tied for third in home runs, fourth in RBI and slugging percentage and second in doubles. Her 42 RBI are a new freshman record at Drake. 

CLEAN SWEEP

Nybo and Schmidt were named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week and MVC Pitcher of the Week, respectively this past week. Nybo was 8-of-15 (.533) at the plate last week in five wins for the Bulldogs. The freshman blasted two home runs and had seven RBI with 15 total bases and a 1.000 slugging percentage. She currently has a seven-game hitting streak and on the season is hitting .333 with nine home runs, 42 RBI and a .580 slugging percentage. Schmidt had a great week on the mound and at the plate. The right-hander went 2-0 with two saves and compiled a 0.75 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched. She struck out 19, walked three batters and allowed just two earned runs. At the plate, she was 4-of-6 (.667) with her first two career home runs, a double, five runs scored and four RBI.

GLOVE WORK

Drake is tied with Missouri State for the best fielding percentage in the MVC at .969 and the Bulldogs trail MSU (47) in total errors with 50.

WORK HORSES

Gronewold and Schmidt are the only two Bulldog pitchers to see action this season. Gronewold leads the Valley in innings pitched (232.1), starts (47) and appearances (49). She is third in wins (20) and strikeouts (199), eighth in ERA (2.77) and eighth in opponent batting average (.241). Schmidt is tied for second in the Valley in appearances (39), fourth in opponent batting average (.208) seventh in strikeouts with 153 and 10th in ERA at 2.83. The freshman has pitched 143.2 innings in her first season and is first in games finished (33) and saves (10) in the MVC. She has made the second most appearances behind Gronewold in the MVC with 42.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

The Bulldogs have swiped a conference-best 96 bases this season and have been caught just 23 times. Drake has the top three stolen base leaders in the Valley led by Pierce, who has 25. Macie Silliman (Winterset, Iowa) is next with 22 and Lindsey Vande Wall (Prairie City, Iowa) is third with 19.

IN A PINCH

Nicole Randel (Alpine, Calif.) has delivered in pinch hitting situations this season. The California native is 7-for-23 (.304) this season when called from the bench. She leads the MVC in pinch hits and pinch hit attempts.

LOCK IT DOWN

Schmidt’s 10 saves lead the MVC and she has the second most in the nation.  Bulldogs 11 saves lead the MVC.

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