THIS WEEK: Saint Louis softball (12-14) makes its home debut this week with six games in four days at the Billiken Sports Center. The Billikens host non-conference foe Wichita State (6-19) Thursday, March 22, in a doubleheader that begins at 2 p.m. Atlantic 10 Conference play begins Friday as Rhode Island (7-13) visits for a 3 p.m. tilt. The Bills and Rams meet again Saturday at noon. Sunday, Massachusetts (11-8) comes to town for an A-10 twinbill that starts at noon.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Live statistics will be provided for all Billiken home games this season. Go to the home page of www.SLUBillikens.com and find the Upcoming Events entries, located just below Top Stories, to access this feature.
ABOUT THE BILLIKENS: Jessica Buschjost leads Saint Louis in batting average (.341), hits (29), runs (15) and stolen bases (19-for-20). Erin Harcar hits .282 with 10 RBIs, leads the team in slugging percentage (.465), is tied for the lead in home runs (three) and is second in hits (20), runs (10) and stolen bases (14-for-16). Alyson Brand is tied with Harcar in home runs, shares the RBIs lead (11) with Laura Bohning and is second in slugging percentage (.422). Kelly Flanagan owns team highs in on-base percentage (.414) and doubles (five), Kerri Dockins leads in sacrifice bunts (five), and Lindsay Friedman is second in on-base percentage (.397). In the circle, Hannah Huebbe leads the pitching staff in wins (six), ERA (3.43), fewest hits per seven innings (5.9) and lowest opponents' batting average (.231). Kelcie Matesa has three wins and is tops in saves (two), strikeouts (64) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (1.83 to 1). Julian Austin owns three victories and a save and leads the Bills in fewest walks per seven innings (3.02).
BILLIKENS IN THE A-10 STATISTICS: As of March 14, Jessica Buschjost leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in hits (29) and stolen bases (19) while ranking third in runs (15) and ninth in batting average (.341). Jessica Van Nostrand leads the conference in assists (57). Erin Harcar is second in stolen bases (14), tied for fourth in hits (20) and total bases (33), and tied for fifth in home runs (three). Kerri Dockins and Kelly Flanagan are tied for the league lead in hit-by-pitch (seven), while Dockins is tied for second in sacrifice bunts (five). Alyson Brand and Laura Bohning are tied for fifth in RBIs (11), and Brand is tied for fifth in home runs (three). Lindsay Friedman is tied for third in hit-by-pitch (five). Kelcie Matesa leads the A-10 in saves (two) and is third in strikeouts (64), while Hannah Huebbe is third in lowest opponents' batting average (.231), tied for third in wins (six) and fifth in innings (65 1/3).
HITS IN BUNCHES: Jessica Buschjost went 2-for-4 against Michigan March 10, giving her a team-best seventh multiple-hit game. Buschjost, who has hit safely in 20 of 26 contests, has two 3-hit games and five 2-hit efforts.
ONE-RUN WONDERS: The Billikens have been tested in several close contests this season and have passed with flying colors. Eleven of SLU's 26 games have been decided by one run, and the Bills have an 8-3 record in those affairs.
FEW K'S FOR KK: Katie Kroeger has been the Billikens' best contact hitter in the early going. Kroeger has struck out just five times in 66 plate appearances, an average of once every 13.2 PAs.
MATESA, HUEBBE A TERRIFIC TANDEM: Billiken pitchers Kelcie Matesa and Hannah Huebbe appear on numerous Saint Louis career top-10 lists. Matesa is second in strikeouts (487), appearances (108), shutouts (13) and saves (five), tied for second in wins (36), third in innings (508) and starts (75), and fifth in complete games (41). Huebbe is fourth in shutouts (nine) and wins (35), sixth in strikeouts (306), complete games (38) and appearances (79), seventh in innings (385 2/3) and eighth in starts (65).
CLIMBING THE CAREER LADDER: Several Billiken position players appear on various SLU career top-10 lists. Kelly Flanagan is first in hit by pitch (45), tied for first in sacrifice flies (six) and tied for 10th in home runs (seven). Kerri Dockins is tied for third in sacrifice bunts (29), fifth in hit by pitch (15) and seventh in assists (258). Rachel Faletto is seventh in home runs (nine), tied for eighth in RBIs (61) and 10th in doubles (23). Alyson Brand is tied for third in sacrifice flies (four), tied for fifth in home runs (10) and tied for 10th in putouts (485). Jessica Buschjost is tied for fourth in stolen bases (53), and Laura Bohning is tied for 10th in home runs (seven).
HEAD COACH CHRISTY CONNOYER: Second-year head coach Christy Connoyer has a 72-68 career record, including a 41-38 ledger at Saint Louis. Connoyer's first Billiken team registered a 29-24 mark. She spent the 2005 season as head coach at Tulsa, where she became the first coach in program history to compile a winning record (31-30) in her first season. Connoyer is a 1994 graduate of Notre Dame, where she was a four-time first-team All-Conference selection. Joining Connoyer in the dugout this season are first-year assistant coaches Pat Kies and Sarah Clynes.
SCOUTING WICHITA STATE: The Shockers will play a doubleheader at UMKC Wednesday before coming to St. Louis. Sydney Stuever owns a team-high .373 batting average and has two home runs. Melanie Jaegers and Hayley Temple are Wichita State's top run producers with 12 and 11 RBIs, respectively, while Erin Carney tops the Shockers' home run chart with three. Pitchers Sloan Anderson and Katie Armagost have three and two victories, respectively. Wichita State holds a 7-2 series lead over the Billikens. The teams last met in 2001.
SCOUTING RHODE ISLAND: The Rams have a solid .270 team batting average, led by Nicole Massoni (.392), Courtney Prendergast (.383), Kelly Coker (.340) and Brittany Julich (.301). Massoni (three home runs, 12 RBIs), Prendergast (four home runs, 10 RBIs) and Coker (three home runs, 14 RBIs) are Rhode Island's top run producers, while Julich has a team-high seven doubles. Sam Bedore leads the pitching staff with three wins and 36 strikeouts, Alison Hartzell is 2-0 with a 2.90 ERA, and Cassie Baker is 1-1 with a team-best 1.50 ERA out of the bullpen. The Billikens lead the series 10-4, including a pair of 7-0 victories in Kingston, R.I., last season.
SCOUTING MASSACHUSETTS: The Minutewomen will take on No. 25 South Florida and Northwestern this week before playing the Billikens. Cyndil Matthew carries a .441 batting average and a .507 on-base percentage and is 10-for-10 in stolen-base attempts. Quianna Diaz-Patterson hits .308 with seven doubles and 13 RBIs, while Katie Bettencourt bats .304 with five doubles and 11 RBIs. Lindsey Webster leads the squad with 14 RBIs while batting .298. Sara Plourde, a third-team All-American the past two seasons, has pitched 101 2/3 of the team's 126 1/3 innings. Plourde is 10-6 with a 2.55 ERA, 180 strikeouts and a .135 opponents' batting average. The Minutewomen lead the series 11-1-1, including 4-0 and 4-3 wins in Amherst, Mass., last year.ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS: Jessica Buschjost was named to the All-Tournament team at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament. Rachel Faletto, Erin Harcar, Kelcie Matesa and Hannah Huebbe earned All-Tournament nods at Kennesaw State's Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament.