THIS WEEK: Saint Louis softball (19-28, 6-8 Atlantic 10) has seven games scheduled in a seven-day period, beginning with a 3 p.m. single game against Southern Illinois Edwardsville (19-26) at the Billiken Sports Center Wednesday, April 25. SLU returns to A-10 action with single games at Temple (22-19, 7-5 A-10) Friday (2 p.m. CT) and Saturday (11 a.m. CT) and a doubleheader at Saint Joseph's (17-24-1, 6-7-1 A-10) Sunday (11 a.m. CT). The demanding stretch concludes Tuesday, May 1, with a 4 p.m. twinbill against Southeast Missouri State (22-25) at the Billiken Sports Center.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION: Live statistics will be provided for all Billiken home games this season, as well as for this week's games at Temple and Saint Joseph's. Go to the home page of www.SLUBillikens.com and find the Upcoming Events entries, located just below Top Stories, to access this feature.
SAINT LOUIS TO HOST A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP: Saint Louis will host the 2012 Atlantic 10 Conference Softball Championship. The six-team, double-elimination tournament will be held Wednesday through Saturday, May 9-12, at the Billiken Sports Center on the SLU campus. The tournament winner receives the A-10's automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
BILLS TIED FOR EIGHTH AS STRETCH RUN APPROACHES: With six conference games remaining, the Billikens are tied with St. Bonaventure for eighth place in the league standings. Massachusetts (11-0) and Fordham (13-1) appear to be on their way to earning first-round byes for the A-10 Championship. Temple (7-5) is third, followed by Charlotte (8-6), George Washington (8-8), Saint Joseph's (6-7-1), Dayton (6-7), Saint Louis (6-8), St. Bonaventure (6-8), Rhode Island (2-9-1) and La Salle (0-14).
ABOUT THE BILLIKENS: Jessica Buschjost leads Saint Louis in batting average (.327), hits (50), runs (23), total bases (54) and stolen bases (30-for-33), and she is second in on-base percentage (.368). Alyson Brand leads the team in RBIs (21), slugging percentage (.424), sacrifice flies (three) and walks (13-tied), is tied for the lead in doubles (six), ranks second in batting average (.261) and is tied for second in home runs (three). Erin Harcar has team highs of four home runs and two triples, ranks second in runs (17), slugging percentage (.365), total bases (46) and stolen bases (21-for-24), and she is tied for second in hits (27). Laura Bohning is tied for the team lead in doubles (six), ranks second in RBIs (20) and is tied for second in hits (27) and home runs (three). Rachel Faletto is tied for first in doubles (six) and walks (13); Kelly Flanagan tops the SLU chart in hit-by-pitch (10) and is tied for first in doubles (six); Lindsay Friedman leads the squad in on-base percentage (.371) and is second in hit by pitch (nine); Kerri Dockins is tied for first in sacrifice bunts (nine) and walks (13); Jessica Van Nostrand is tied for first in sacrifice bunts (nine); and Kelsey Biggs is tied for second in home runs (three). In the circle, Hannah Huebbe leads the pitching staff in wins (10), fewest hits per seven innings (5.9) and lowest opponents' batting average (.226) while carrying a 3.57 ERA. Kelcie Matesa has five wins and is tops in ERA (3.56), saves (two), shutouts (two), strikeouts per seven innings (7.3) and strikeouts-to-walks ratio (2 to 1). Julian Austin owns four victories, a 3.62 ERA and one save and leads the staff in fewest walks per seven innings (2.9).
LAST WEEK: Saint Louis went 0-5 last week. The Billikens fell 2-0 to SIU Edwardsville and lost doubleheaders to Evansville (5-3, 5-2) and A-10 foe Charlotte (11-5, 3-1 in 10 innings).
BILLIKENS IN THE NATIONAL STATISTICS: Through games of April 22, Saint Louis ranks 26th nationally in stolen bases per game (1.60). Individually, Jessica Buschjost is 13th (0.64) and Erin Harcar is 44th (0.46) in stolen bases per game.
BILLIKENS IN THE A-10 STATISTICS: Saint Louis leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in stolen bases (75) and hit by pitch (41) and is tied for first in saves (three). The Billikens have thrown out 17 potential base-stealers to rank second, and they are third in strikeouts (247) and fielding double plays (12). Jessica Buschjost leads the league in stolen bases (30), is tied for first in hits (50) and ranks ninth in batting average (.327), while Alyson Brand is tied for second in sacrifice flies (three) and runners caught stealing (13). Erin Harcar is third in stolen bases (21) and tied for fifth in triples (two). Kelly Flanagan (10) and Lindsay Friedman (nine) are first and tied for second, respectively, in hit by pitch, and Kerri Dockins is tied for fifth in that category (eight) while also tying Jessica Van Nostrand for fourth in sacrifice bunts (nine). Kelcie Matesa is tied for first in saves (two), Van Nostrand is fourth in assists (102), and Hannah Huebbe is tied for fifth in appearances (27).ONE-RUN WONDERS: The Billikens have been tested in several close contests this season and have passed with flying colors. Fourteen of SLU's 47 games have been decided by one run, and the Bills have a 10-4 record in those affairs.
HITS IN BUNCHES: Jessica Buschjost had a three-hit performance and a two-hit game last week, giving her a team-best 14 multiple-hit games. Buschjost, who has hit safely in 33 of 47 contests, has three 3-hit games and 11 two-hit efforts.
FRIEDMAN ON A ROLL: Lindsay Friedman owns a seven-game hitting streak, raising her batting average 58 points to .240 in the process. Friedman is batting .474 (9-for-19) during the streak, which includes a couple of two-hit outings.
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 (511), appearances (115), shutouts (14) and saves (five), and tied for second in starts (80); third in wins (38) and innings (534); and sixth in complete games (43). Huebbe is second in wins (39); third in appearances (92); fourth in shutouts (10) and starts (74); fifth in innings (445 2/3) and complete games (44); and sixth in strikeouts (360).
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) and tied for first in sacrifice flies (six). Alyson Brand is tied for first in sacrifice flies (six), tied for fifth in home runs (10), tied for sixth in walks (50), eighth in putouts (583) and tied for eighth in RBIs (64). Kerri Dockins is second in sacrifice bunts (33), fourth in assists (298), fifth in hit by pitch (16), and eighth in walks (48) and chances (742). Rachel Faletto is tied for fifth in home runs (10), sixth in RBIs (66), ninth in assists (238) and 10th in doubles (25). Jessica Buschjost is fourth in stolen bases (64), and Laura Bohning is eighth in home runs (nine).
HEAD COACH CHRISTY CONNOYER: Second-year head coach Christy Connoyer has a 79-82 career record, including a 48-52 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 SIU EDWARDSVILLE: Alex McDavid leads SIUE in batting average (.368), home runs (three), doubles (eight) and RBIs (24). Chelsea Yankolovich hits .328 with 19 RBIs, Brittany Toney has a .326 batting average and 20 RBIs, and Lindsey Barron is a .300 hitter. Amanda Lambrecht is 15-12 with a 3.62 ERA and four shutouts to lead the pitching staff.
SCOUTING TEMPLE: The Owls play a doubleheader at Saint Joseph's April 24 before welcoming the Billikens. Sarah Prezioso leads Temple with a .354 batting average, three home runs and 28 RBIs, while Meaghan Marley hits .326. Stephanie Pasquale (.298) and Ali Robinson (.297) are knocking on the door of the .300 mark, and Pasquale has a team-high 13 doubles. In the circle, Brooklin White leads the Owls with 12 wins (12-9) and has a 3.43 ERA. Capri Catalano is 6-7 with a team-best 3.07 ERA, while Jessica Mahoney is 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA.
SCOUTING SAINT JOSEPH'S: Dana Parks is the Hawks' leading hitter with a .326 average, followed by Bernadette Moran (.320), Lauren Rendon (.295) and Nicole Palase (.294). Rendon owns team bests of eight home runs and 29 RBIs. Erin Gallagher (8-12, 2.00 ERA) and Taryn Ashway (9-12, 2.74 ERA) handle the bulk of the pitching duties.
SCOUTING SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE: The Redhawks, who have won eight of their last nine games, play a single contest at Southern Illinois April 25 and a three-game Ohio Valley Conference set at Murray State April 28-29 before coming to St. Louis. SLU and SEMO met earlier this season, with the Billikens winning 5-4 in eight innings at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament at UMKC. Evan Sallis tops the batting average chart with a .346 mark, followed by Cheyenne Gipson (.338) and Taylor Cowan (.331). Sallis and Gipson have 17 stolen bases apiece, while Renee Kertz has supplied team highs of five homers and 38 RBIs. Alora Marble (13-12, 2.48 ERA) and Shea Cothren (6-9, 4.10 ERA) have shouldered most of the pitching assignments.
BOHNING NAMED A-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Laura Bohning was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week for the period of April 9-15. Bohning hit safely in all six games during the week and posted team highs in batting average (.421), hits (eight), runs (four), doubles (two), on-base percentage (.421) and total bases (13). She had two RBIs, including a solo home run at Fordham. Bohning was 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base in game two of a doubleheader at La Salle.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.