MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois softball (8-12 Overall, 2-5 Summit League) returns to Mary Ellen McKee Stadium for a Summit League series against North Dakota State (16-13, 3-0) beginning with a double header on Friday (April 5) at 3 p.m. The three-game stint wraps up on Saturday (April 6) with a 12 p.m. contest.
Saturday's single game will be Senior Day for a trio of Leathernecks including Julia Katsaros, Kelsey Michelini and Alex Pflieger. The group will be honored with a pregame ceremony beginning at 11:35 a.m.
The weekend also marks the annual Think Pink event. The squad will collect donations to contribute to McDonough County Hospital's Linda's Fund during the series and sell t-shirts for ten dollars apiece. Following Saturday's single game, all who have donated may partake in a home run derby thrown by head coach Holly Van Vlymen.
WHEN: Friday, April 5 at 3 p.m. (DH) & Saturday, April 6 at 12 p.m.
VENUE: Mary Ellen McKee Stadium (500)
LOCATION: Macomb, Ill.
Garrett Knock (PBP) & Pierce Roberson (Color)
Nico Haeflinger (PBP) & Drew Hoffman (Color)
Think Pink - Donations to Linda's Fund accepted all weekend
Senior Day - Pregame ceremony begins at 11:35 a.m. on Saturday, April 6
Home Run Derby - Make a Think Pink donation to be eligible to participate in the derby following the game on Saturday, April 6, thrown by head coach Holly Van Vlymen
LAST TIME OUT: Western Illinois dropped two contests to Summit League member Fort Wayne on Friday (Mar. 29)… The Mastodons took game one 11-3 in six innings and game two 9-1 in five innings… Shortstop Sammy Marshall highlighted action going 4-for-5 (.800) at the plate tallying her first RBI and triple of the season and adding two stolen bases… Third baseman Megg Kelly hit a solo home run in game one, her fourth of the year, while first baseman Teagan Walsh was 2-for-5 in the double header, notching her first double of the season.
SCOUTING THE BISON: Summit League member North Dakota State brings a conference mark of 3-0 and an overall record of 16-10 into the weekend series… The offense is led by Jenina Ortega who owns a .348 (24-for-69) average… Leading the team in RBI with 17 is Cheyenne Garcia, followed by Alyssa Reina and Amanda Grable who have 15 apiece… Whitney Johnson has a team-best 12-6 mark and 1.45 ERA in the circle… In her 120.1 innings pitched, she has 138 strikeouts and allowed 25 earned runs… The Bison roster consists of nine freshmen, four sophomores, two juniors and one senior.
SERIES HISTORY: The Leathernecks trail the Bison in overall meetings 7-12… In the 2012 Summit League series, Western fell in the opening game 3-0 but rebounded recording 3-1 and 6-1 victories over North Dakota State.
SENIOR STATUS: The single game scheduled for Saturday (April 6) will serve as Senior Day for a trio of Leathernecks including Julia Katsaros, Kelsey Michelini and Alex Pflieger… The group will honor the seniors with a ceremony beginning at 11:35 a.m. before the contest.
BRIGHT SPOT: Though the team lost two, shortstop Sammy Marshall turned in an impressive performance… The sophomore went 4-for-5 at the plate in the double header against Fort Wayne for an .800 batting average… She picked up her first RBI and her first triple in the first game, while swiping one base in each contest… Her slugging percentage was 1.200 in the two-game series… The Naperville, Ill. native raised improved her batting average from .439 to .478.
MARCH TURNAROUND: After opening the season with a batting average of .105 (2-for-19), Megg Kelly has turned it around in a big way in the month of March… In 13 games, the junior posted a .379 (11-for-29) batting average, an .828 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .581… She hit four home runs and a double, scored seven runs and notched nine RBI… On the season, Kelly is hitting .271 (13-for-48) and leads the team in walks with 14.
WELCOME TO THE GUN SHOW: Leatherneck outfielders Monica Rondon, Briana Williams and Karissa Kouchis have posted a total of 13 assists in 20 games played thus far in 2013… Kouchis has thrown out eight runners, followed by Williams with three and Rondon with two.
WHEELING AND DEALING: Western currently ranks 14th nationally in stolen bases averaging 2.1 per game and eight members of the roster have contributed at least one stolen base to this season's total... Sammy Marshall has a total of 17 stolen bases on the year to lead the team... She is currently No. 4 in the Western Illinois record book with 62 career steals as a sophomore... Briana Williams has a total of 14 steals and is tied for No. 7 on the career list with 45 stolen bases... Also stealing bags for the Leathernecks in 2013 were Ryleigh Sears (5-for-6), Julie Mayernich (2-for-2), Alex Pflieger (1-for-1), Monica Rondon (1-for-1), Tierney Bottino (1-for-1) and Karissa Kouchis (1-for-2).
PACING WESTERN: Sammy Marshall leads the squad in batting average (.478), on-base percentage (.564), runs scored (17), hits (22) and stolen bases (17)… Pacing the team in slugging percentage (.590), RBI (21), home runs (6), total bases (36) and at bats (61) is Monica Rondon… Lia Romeo has a team-most four doubles, eight hit by pitches, two sacrifice flies and 69 total plate appearances, while Karissa Kouchis has a team-high two triples.
NATIONALLY SPEAKING: In the most recent release of the NCAA rankings on Mar. 31, Western is 14th in stolen bases per game (2.1), 37th in triples per game (0.25), 94th in scoring (4.9) and 100th in home runs per game (0.7)… Sammy Marshall leads the nation in stolen bases averaging 1.06 per game, while teammate Briana Williams is ninth averaging 0.74 steals per game… Lia Romeo ranks ninth in hit by pitch per game (0.4)… Megg Kelly is 43rd in walks per game (0.7)… Monica Rondon ranks 56th in home runs per game (0.3), while Karissa Kouchis is 90th in triples with two… Teagan Walsh is 96th with one save on the year.
LEAGUE LEADERBOARD: Several Leathernecks are in the Summit League ‘Top 10’ statistically… Sammy Marshall leads the league in batting average (.478) and on-base percentage (.564) and comes in second in stolen bases with 17… Monica Rondon is tied for fourth in home runs (6), seventh in slugging percentage (.590) and tied for eighth in RBI (21)… Megg Kelly is fifth in on-base percentage (.470), tied for eighth in home runs (4) and ninth in walks (14)… Kelsey Michelini is tied for fourth in complete games (12), sixth in innings pitched (74.0) and eighth in strikeouts (51)… Briana Williams is third with 14 stolen bases and tied for fifth with four sacrifice hits… Teagan Walsh is tied for second with one save and tenth in putouts with 122.
EARNING RECOGNITION: Monica Rondon earned the first Summit League Offensive Player of the Week honor of her collegiate career and the first for Western in 2013 for her efforts at the Adidas Invitational (Mar. 8-10)... She went 6-for-17 (.343) at the plate with four home runs, a double and 12 RBI compiling a slugging percentage of 1.118... In the first game against North Carolina A&T, Rondon hit three-run home runs in consecutive at bats... Against No. 24 Georgia, the junior sent a solo shot over the wall... She added two-run home runs against Delaware State and Harvard.
ALL-TOURNAMENT RECOGNITION: Two members of the Leatherneck squad were named to the Bama Bash All-Tournament Team for their performances... Shortstop Sammy Marshall recorded a hit in each game played, including a 4-for-4 performance at the plate against Winthrop, for an average of .444 (8-for-18) with a double and three runs scored... She posted a .500 slugging percentage, .474 on-base percentage, .913 fielding percentage and was a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases... Pitcher/first baseman Teagan Walsh held No. 1 Alabama to one earned run in her four innings pitched on Feb. 23... She allowed just four hits in 20 batters faced and notched two strikeouts.
PRESEASON PICKS: Junior Briana Williams and sophomore Sammy Marshall were named to the Preseason All-League Teams by College Sports Madness on Monday (Jan. 14)... Marshall was predicted to earn First Team honors, while Williams was selected to earn Second Team recognition from the Summit League in 2013... Marshall is the lone returner for the Leathernecks who was awarded All-League honors in 2012... She garnered First Team honors after being crowned the NCAA Stolen Base Champion, setting Western Illinois and Summit League single season steal records, leading the league in batting average (.420) and stolen bases (45-for-45), and earning Summit League Player of the Week honors on three occasions.
SUMMIT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL: Western Illinois was voted to finish third in the conference in 2013 according to the Summit League Preseason Poll released on Friday (Feb. 1) with 46 points... North Dakota State was selected to take first tallying 64 points and eight first place votes, followed by Fort Wayne who was picked to finish second with 56 points and one first place vote... Kansas City was voted fourth (40 points) followed closely by Omaha for fifth (38 points)... South Dakota (28 points), IUPUI (26 points), South Dakota State (17 points) and Oakland (nine points) rounded out final spots in the poll... Poll results were decided by a vote of the league's nine head coaches.