MACOMB, Ill. – Fighting Leatherneck softball is set to take on South Dakota State in a Summit League series on Saturday and Sunday (April 20-21). Due to inclement weather conditions in Brookings, S.D. the three-game stretch has been moved to a neutral site at Omaha North High School’s Fontenelle Field located in Omaha, Neb.
Western enters the weekend with a 10-19 overall record and a conference mark of 4-12, while the Jackrabbits are 14-21 overall and 4-8 in league action.
WHEN: Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m. (DH) & Sunday, April 21 at 12 p.m.
VENUE: Omaha North High School’s Fontenelle Field
LOCATION: Omaha, Neb.
Nico Haeflinger (PBP)
LAST TIME OUT: Western Illinois took game one 9-1 in run rule fashion before falling 5-2 and 6-1 to wrap up its Summit League series against IUPUI at home… In the three-game stretch, five Leathernecks hit for an average above .300 including Sammy Marshall (.500), Megg Kelly (.444), Lia Romeo (.429), Briana Williams (.375) and Karissa Kouchis (.375)… Marshall hit the second in the park home run of her career in game two, while Romeo hit a solo home run over the fence in game one… Starting pitcher Kelsey Michelini recorded the complete game one win in the circle fanning three in her five innings of work.
SCOUTING THE JACKRABBITS: Summit League member South Dakota State owns an overall record of 14-21 and a conference mark of 4-8 heading into the weekend series… Devon Reick paces the Jackrabbit offense with a .360 (40-for-111) batting average followed by Alex Landon .354 (35-for-99) and Elyse Eitel .320 (31-for-97)… Starting pitcher Kori Seidlitz has logged a team most 124.0 innings, has seven wins, 100 strikeouts and a 4.52 ERA, while Jennifer Sutton is 5-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 75.2 innings pitched… The South Dakota State roster consists of three freshmen, five sophomores, four juniors and six seniors.
SERIES HISTORY: The Leathernecks lead the Jackrabbits 11-2 in all-time meetings… In last year’s Summit League series, Western completed the sweep winning 7-2, 9-3 and 13-1 in five innings at Mary Ellen McKee Stadium in Macomb.
NEUTRAL SITE: Inclement weather in Brookings, S.D. required the teams to move their Summit League series to a neutral site in Omaha, Neb…. The three-game stretch will be played at Omaha North High School’s Fontenelle Field located at the corner of Ames Avenue and North 42nd Street.
THE JET: Sophomore Sammy Marshall is just four steals from tying and five away from breaking the Western Illinois career stolen bases record of 74 currently held by Stef Ryan (1991-94)… She has stolen 25 bags thus far in 2013 and swiped 45-of-45 bases attempted in her 2012 campaign for a total of 70… The Naperville, Ill. native averages one steal per game this year to lead all Division I and was named the NCAA Stolen Base Champion in 2012.
JUMPING UP: Several members of the Leatherneck offense own higher batting averages in conference contests than nonconference… Sammy Marshall is well over the .500 mark in league play averaging .526 compared to her nonconference mark of .471… Megg Kelly is hitting .219 in nonconference action but boasts a .341 average in Summit League play… Karissa Kouchis is hitting at a clip of .308 in conference compared to .194 against nonleague opponents.
RUN AND GUN: The Fighting Leatherneck outfield has a total of 17 assists so far in 2013… The trio is led by freshman right fielder Karissa Kouchis who has a total of 10 assists… Junior center fielder Briana Williams has five toss outs and junior Monica Rondon owns two assists thus far.
RECORD BOOK RUNDOWN: With nine games remaining in the regular season, Western is on the verge of entering 2013 in a few ‘Top 10’ categories… With their current slugging percentage of .416, the Leathernecks occupy the fifth spot in the record book… The squad’s 19 home runs are four from tying the 10th highest total of 23 in a season… With 54 stolen bases thus far, the 2013 team is two steals from entering the season ‘Top 10’ list.
RUNNERS ON PARADE: Western Illinois has a total of 54 steals, two from entering the Western Illinois ‘Top 10’, on the season after 29 games and ranks 18th nationally averaging 1.96 stolen bases per game… Sammy Marshall has a team-most 25 steals and Briana Williams joins her in double figures with 17 stolen bases… Also contributing to the year’s stolen bases total are Karissa Kouchis, Alex Pflieger, Lia Romeo, Monica Rondon, Tierney Bottino and Ryleigh Sears.
CLIMBING THE RANKS: According to the most recent release of NCAA statistics on April 14, Western is 18th in stolen bases per game (1.96) and 24th in triples per game (0.27)… Sammy Marshall ranks in several categories including a first in stolen bases per game (1.0), second in batting average (.500), ninth in on-base percentage (.573) and 53rd in triples (3.0)… Lia Romeo is seventh in hit by pitches per game (0.42)… Briana Williams is 16th in stolen bases per game (0.68).
CONFERENCE ‘TOP 10’: Sammy Marshall leads the Summit League in batting average (.500) and on-base percentage (.576), is second in stolen bases (25), tied for second in triples (4), third in slugging percentage (.694) and tied for sixth in runs (26)… Kelsey Michelini is tied for fifth in complete games thrown (14), seventh in innings pitched (106.0) and 10th in strikeouts with 67… Lia Romeo is tied for first in hit by pitches (11), second in sacrifice flies (3) and tied for fifth in home runs (5)… Briana Williams is tied for third in sacrifice hits (6) and fourth in stolen bases (17)… Teagan Walsh is tied for third with one save and tied for 10th with eight complete games thrown… Megg Kelly is tied for third in hit by pitches (6), Monica Rondon is tied for fourth in home runs (6) and Karissa Kouchis is tied for fifth with two triples.
LEAGUE ROUNDUP: Fort Wayne and North Dakota State are undefeated in Summit League play and occupy the top two positions with 7-0 and 6-0 records, respectively… Omaha is third with a league most 10 wins and one loss… South Dakota is fourth (8-5), Kansas City is fifth (3-3) and IUPUI is sixth (7-11)… South Dakota State (4-8), Western Illinois (4-12) and Oakland (1-10) round out the standings.
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.