THIS WEEK: Saint Louis softball (16-18, 3-3 Atlantic 10) hosts a non-conference doubleheader and hits the road for an Atlantic 10 Conference twinbill this week. The Billikens welcome Southern Illinois (20-9) to the Billiken Sports Center Wednesday, April 4, with game one slated for a 3 p.m. start. SLU travels to Dayton to meet the Flyers (13-18, 1-5 A-10) Saturday, April 7, in a doubleheader that begins at 11 a.m. (CT).
FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Live statistics will be provided for all Billiken home games this season, as well as for Saturday's games at Dayton. 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 (.306), hits (34), runs (18) and stolen bases (25-for-27). Alyson Brand has team-best marks in home runs (three-tied), RBIs (18) and slugging percentage (.500) while ranking second in batting average (.290) and on-base percentage (.387). Kelly Flanagan leads the squad in doubles (six) and on-base percentage (.392), while Erin Harcar is tied with Brand for the home run lead (three) and is second in hits (23), slugging percentage (.429), runs (12) and stolen bases (15-of-17). Kerri Dockins leads in sacrifice bunts (seven), while Laura Bohning, Rachel Faletto and Jessica Van Nostrand are second in RBIs (14), doubles (five) and sacrifice bunts (five), respectively. In the circle, Hannah Huebbe leads the pitching staff in wins (nine), ERA (3.12), fewest hits per seven innings (5.9), fewest walks per seven innings (3.3) and lowest opponents' batting average (.228). Kelcie Matesa has four wins and a 3.66 ERA and is tops in saves (two), strikeouts per seven innings (7.4) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (1.86 to 1). Julian Austin owns three victories and a save. All three pitchers have one shutout.
LAST WEEK: Saint Louis swept an A-10 doubleheader at St. Bonaventure Sunday, April 1, in its only action of the week. The Billikens topped the Bonnies 5-1 in the opener and 4-1 (five innings) in the nightcap.
BILLIKENS IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICS: Through games of April 1, Saint Louis ranks 21st nationally in stolen bases per game (1.74). Individually, Jessica Buschjost is 10th (0.74) and Erin Harcar is 58th (0.45) in stolen bases per game, Kelly Flanagan is 27th in hit by pitch per game (0.32), and Kelcie Matesa is 41st in saves (two).
HOT HAND FOR BRAND: Alyson Brand is the Billikens' hottest hitter. Brand is 14-for-31 (.452) in her last 12 games, a streak that has raised her batting average from .129 to .290.
ONE-RUN WONDERS: The Billikens have been tested in several close contests this season and have passed with flying colors. Twelve of SLU's 34 games have been decided by one run, and the Bills have a 9-3 record in those affairs.
FEW K'S FOR KK: Katie Kroeger has been the Billikens' best contact hitter this season. Kroeger has struck out just seven times in 77 plate appearances, an average of once every 11 PAs.
HITS IN BUNCHES: Jessica Buschjost went 2-for-4 against Wichita State March 21, giving her a team-best eight multiple-hit games. Buschjost, who has hit safely in 24 of 34 contests, has two 3-hit games and six 2-hit efforts.
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 (492), appearances (110), shutouts (13) and saves (five); third in wins (37), innings (514 1/3) and starts (76); and fifth in complete games (42). Huebbe is second in wins (38); fourth in shutouts (10); sixth in strikeouts (335), complete games (41), starts (69) and appearances (85); and tied for sixth in innings (416 2/3).
CLIMBING THE CAREER LADDER: Several Billiken position players appear on various SLU career top-10 lists. Kelly Flanagan is first in hit by pitch (48), tied for first in sacrifice flies (six) and tied for 10th in home runs (seven). Alyson Brand is third in sacrifice flies (five), tied for fifth in home runs (10), ninth in walks (45) and putouts (525), and tied for ninth in RBIs (61). Kerri Dockins is third in sacrifice bunts (31), fifth in hit by pitch (16), sixth in assists (281) and tied for 10th in walks (44). Rachel Faletto is seventh in home runs (nine), eighth in RBIs (63) and 10th in doubles (24). Jessica Buschjost is fourth in stolen bases (59), and Laura Bohning is tied for 10th in home runs (seven).
HEAD COACH CHRISTY CONNOYER: Second-year head coach Christy Connoyer has a 76-72 career record, including a 45-42 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 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: The Salukis have won 16 of 20 games since beginning the season with a 4-5 record. Southern Illinois averages 6.3 runs and carries a .310 batting average, with six regulars topping the .300 mark - Mallory Duran (.398), Meredith Wilson (.392), Haley Gorman (.347), Allie VadeBoncouer (.329), Taylor Orsburn (.318) and Kelsea Ashton (.312). VadeBoncouer has six home runs and 31 RBIs to lead SIU, while Jayna Spivey is second with five homers and 24 RBIs. Alyssa Wunderlich leads the pitching staff with an 8-1 record and a 2.92 ERA, while Katie Bertelsen and Brittney Lang have seven and five victories, respectively. Bertelsen also has three saves.
SCOUTING DAYTON: The Flyers play a non-conference doubleheader at Morehead State April 4 before welcoming the Billikens. Brandy Brown leads Dayton with a .344 batting average and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs, while Alysha Isaacson hits .333 with three home runs. Kathleen Maloof owns a .330 batting mark, seven homers and 13 RBIs. Natalie Mariano and Tiffany Ricks hit .313 and .308, respectively, with Ricks adding three home runs. Kasi Vazquez has produced four homers and 11 RBIs. The Flyers have hit 29 home runs in 31 games, and 12 players have gone deep at least once. Sarah Wedel is 5-3 in the circle, while Kayla English is 4-5 with team bests in ERA (2.91) and strikeouts (67 in 67 1/3 innings).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.