MACOMB, Ill. - The Fighting Leatherneck softball squad is scheduled to take part in the Blues City Classic this weekend (Feb. 24-26)...Western Illinois is slated to face five opponents over the three-day event, beginning with Northern Iowa and Southeast Missouri State on Friday, Miami-Ohio and Memphis on Saturday, and conclude action against Missouri State on Sunday.
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LAST TIME OUT: Western took part in the Ninth Annual Georgia Softball Classic in Athens and finished the weekend 1-3...The Leathernecks defeated Buffalo 8-3, and lost to Winthrop (5-2), Connecticut (4-2), and #14 Georgia (2-0).
A LOOK AT NORTHERN IOWA: The Northern Iowa Panthers enter the weekend with a 3-2 record...Its lone action of the season came in Ames after the Ramada UNI-Dome Classic two weekend's ago...The Panthers finished the tournament with a 3-2 record The Leathernecks and Panthers met in that tournament with the Leathernecks picking up a 4-1 win...Mackenzie Daigh leads the team at the plate with a team-best eight hits in 17 at bats (.471), four runs, three doubles, and one RBI...Jamie Fisher leads the team in the circle with a team-high 19.0 inning pitched, 20 strikeouts, and a 1.42 ERA.
A LOOK AT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE: The Redhawks enter the tournament with a 4-2 overall record...The Redhawks won the ULM Mardi Gras Classic two weeks ago after going 4-1 in the tournament...Senior infielder Renee Kertz was named tournament Most Valuable Player...Alora Marble, Shea Cothren, and Lindsey Patterson each earned All-Tournament honors...Renee Kertz leads the team at the plate with a .400 batting average, tallying a team-high eight hits in 20 at bats, nine RBI, nine runs scored, one double, and one homerun...Alora Marble leads the Redhawks in the circle with a team-low 5.87 ERA and a 2-1 record.
A LOOK AT MIAMI-OHIO: Miami-Ohio enters the weekend with a 3-1 overall record...After taking a week off, the Miami University softball team joins five other teams for the Blues City Classic...On Friday, the RedHawks will take on the host Memphis Tigers at 3:30 p.m. and follow that with a game against Southeast Missouri State at 6 p.m...On Saturday, Miami faces Missouri State at 10 a.m. and Western Illinois at 12:15 p.m...On Sunday, the Red and White conclude the tournament against Northern Iowa at 10 a.m...Western Illinois leads the all-time series with Miami, 6-2...The Leathernecks swept a doubleheader in Oxford in their last meeting on Mar. 16, 2010...WIU took a marathon opener, 5-1, in 14 innings, and then completed the sweep with a 5-3 win in the nightcap.
A LOOK AT MEMPHIS: The University of Memphis softball team enters the weekend with a 2-9 record and hosts the Blues City Classic beginning Friday at the Tiger Softball Complex...Memphis has lost seven-straight games and looks to end the streak at home this week...The Tigers suffered an 8-1 defeat to Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday after going 0-6 at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas...As a team, Memphis is hitting .221 with 39 runs scored and a .310 on base percentage. The Tigers have a team ERA of 5.57 and have struck out 68 batters in 70.1 innings. Opponents are batting .279 off Memphis pitching with 59 walks and 16 hit batters.
A LOOK AT MISSOURI STATE: The Missouri State softball team enters the weekend with a 2-1 record after picking up a pair of victories at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Classic in Denton, Texas, last weekend...Missouri State had strong pitching performances by Natalie Rose...Rose won Missouri Valley Conference 'Pitcher of the Week' following a 19-strikeout, no walks allowed weekend where she earned the win against South Dakota State and registered a save versus Sam Houston State.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Western Illinois freshman infielder Sammy Marshall was named this week's Summit League 'Player of the Week' as announced by the league office last Monday (Feb. 13)...The freshman infielder earned her first career honor after helping the Leathernecks to a 2-2 opening weekend record in her first weekend of collegiate action...For the weekend, Marshall hit .400 (6-for-15) with a .438 on-base percentage, while recording five runs and five stolen bases...North Dakota State's Whitney Johnson was named The Summit League's Pitcher of the Week.
FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS ON THE AIR: Western Illinois softball games can be heard live on the Internet (www.GoLeathernecks.com) via the Leatherneck Sports Network by clicking on the link for each game on the softball schedule/results page.
KEEPING THE DYNASTY ALIVE: The Leathernecks entered the 2012 campaign looking to get back to their recent dominance in The Summit League...Western Illinois has won three of the past five regular-season conference championships (2007, 2009 and 2010)...The Leathernecks won the league tournament in 2008 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where they defeated Drake for the team's first-ever NCAA Tournament win...Head coach Holly Van Vlymen has been named as the league's "Coach of the Year" three times during her tenure with the Leathernecks...Under her guidance, Western Illinois had the league's Pitcher and Freshman of the Year in 2007 and 2009, and has had 30 players named as All-League selections.
LEATHERNECKS PICKED 5TH IN PRESEASON POLL: The Fighting Leatherneck softball squad was picked fifth in the 2012 Summit League Preseason Poll as announced by the league office on Feb. 2nd...The poll was voted on by the league's nine head coaches...The Leathernecks, who received 38 points in the poll, finished fifth in The Summit League last season with a 19-27 overall record, and a 14-10 league mark.
UP NEXT: Western will compete in their final regular season tournament of the season with the Coach B Classic at Southern Illinois...The Leathernecks will play Southern Illinois and SIU-Edwardsville on Saturday (March 3), then Northern Illinois and Wright State on Sunday (March 4).