LAST WEEK: The Billikens posted a 2-1 record, defeating UMKC 3-1 March 28 and splitting an A-10 doubleheader with Dayton March 30. After falling 5-1 to the Flyers in the opener, SLU recorded a 3-2 victory in the nightcap.
BILLIKEN STATISTICAL LEADERS: Jessica Van Nostrand leads Saint Louis in batting average (.305), hits (25) and doubles (six) while driving in 14 runs. Alyson Brand owns team highs in on-base percentage (.438), slugging percentage (.455) and walks (17) and is tied with Lindsay Friedman for the team lead in RBIs (15) and sacrifice bunts (four). Friedman tops the Billiken home run chart with four and is 10-of-11 in stolen bases. Jessica Buschjost has swiped a team-high 16 bases in 17 attempts, is tied with Van Nostrand for the team lead in runs (15) and is second to Van Nostrand in hits (18). In the circle, Brianna Lore is 7-9 with a 2.91 ERA, and Laney Kneib is 6-4 with a 3.03 ERA and two saves.
BILLIKENS IN THE A-10 STATISTICS REPORT: Saint Louis leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in stolen bases (47) and is tied for the league lead in double plays (11) and runners caught stealing (11). The Billikens are second in walks (105), tied for second in saves (four), third in fielding percentage (.960) and fewest home runs allowed (10), fourth in ERA (3.09) and tied for fourth in sacrifice bunts (20). Jessica Buschjost leads the league in stolen bases (16), while Lindsay Friedman is tied for fifth with 10 steals. Brianna Lore (2.91) and Laney Kneib (3.03) rank eighth and 10th, respectively, in ERA. In conference games only, the Bills are tied for first in fewest home runs allowed (one) and second in fewest walks allowed (six). Kneib is fifth in ERA (1.83).
TRENDING UPWARD: In her last nine games, Alyson Brand is 9-for-19 (.474) with eight RBIs, 10 walks, a .655 on-base percentage and a .789 slugging percentage. Brand lifted her season batting average from .139 to .255 during that nine-game stretch. Kelsey Biggs has hit safely in seven of her last eight games (8-for-24, .333) and has struck out only five times in her last 56 plate appearances. In her last five appearances, Laney Kneib owns a 2-1 record with a 1.57 ERA, one save, two complete games, just six walks in 22 1/3 innings and only four extra-base hits allowed (no home runs). Kneib’s season ERA dropped from 3.90 to 3.03 during that five-game span. Jessica Van Nostrand has struck out just once in her last 63 plate appearances. In the doubleheader against Dayton, Lindsay Friedman was 3-for-7 with three RBIs and two stolen bases.
THAT’S A GOOD EYE: SLU hitters have been patient at the plate lately. The Billikens have drawn 54 walks in their last 10 games, a 5.4 per-game average. Alyson Brand, who earlier this season became Saint Louis’ career leader in walks, ranks 50th nationally in free passes (0.68 per game).
FLASHING THE LEATHER: The Billikens have played strong defense in recent outings. SLU has committed only 15 errors in its last 17 games, improving its fielding percentage from .932 to .960 during that 17-game span.
BURNING UP THE BASEPATHS: Saint Louis ranks 28th in the nation in stolen bases per game (1.81). Jessica Buschjost, who is 16-for-17 in steal attempts, ranks 31st individually with a 0.62 per-game average. The Billikens are 47-for-57 in steal attempts for an .825 success rate.
CLIMBING THE CAREER LADDER: Several current Billikens rank among the top 10 on various SLU career statistical lists. Alyson Brand is first in walks (70), tied for first in sacrifice flies (six), third in RBIs (83), tied for fourth in home runs (13), and fifth in chances (852) and putouts (699). Jessica Buschjost is second in stolen bases (84) and tied for fifth in runs (84), while Jessica Van Nostrand is fifth in assists (305) and 10th in hit by pitch (12). Laura Bohning is tied for fourth in home runs (13), Lindsay Friedman is sixth in hit by pitch (17) and Erin Harcar is 10th in stolen bases (30).
THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS:
Eastern Illinois – The Panthers, whose 9-1 record in league games tops the Ohio Valley Conference, have won four straight and 12 of 13. The pitching of Hanna Mennenga and Stephanie Maday has been a strength this season. Mennenga is 12-4 with a 1.29 ERA, five shutouts and 163 strikeouts in 103 innings. She averages just 1.8 walks per seven innings. Maday is 7-3 with a 1.67 ERA and a 3-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. At the plate, Hannah Cole leads the way with a .386 batting average and nine doubles to go with three home runs and 18 RBIs. Carly Willert bats .323, Ashleigh Westover carries a .302 average, and Brooke Owens is a .300 hitter who has four homers and a team-high 20 RBIs. Bailey O’Dell owns a team-high five home runs.George Washington – A trio of players lead the Colonials’ offense. Carlee Gray tops the batting average chart with a .365 mark and has six doubles, while Victoria Valos bats .325 and leads the squad in home runs (six), doubles (seven) and RBIs (28). Autumn Taylor carries a .314 batting average to go with four home runs and 18 RBIs. In the circle, Courtney Martin is 5-9 with a team-best 2.37 ERA, and Meghan Rico is 6-6 with a 2.93 ERA.