EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -University of Southern Indiana Softball begins its 2019 Great Lakes Valley Conference schedule Saturday at noon when it hosts McKendree University in its home-opener at the USI Softball Field. The Screaming Eagles also host the University of Illinois Springfield Sunday at noon in a rematch of last year’s NCAA II Midwest Super Regional.
The Screaming Eagles (12-10, 0-0 GLVC) have won five of their last eight games, while McKendree (13-11, 0-0 GLVC), an NCAA II Tournament team from last year, also is 5-3 in its last eight games. Illinois Springfield (11-9, 0-0 GLVC), which visits Union University Thursday before opening GLVC play Saturday at Bellarmine University, has won five of its last eight games as well.
All four games this weekend will be aired on 95.7 The Spin as well as the GLVC Sports Network, while live stats, audio and video can be accessed at GoUSIEagles.com.
USI Softball Notes
• Eagles 6-6 at Spring Games. USI went 6-6 at The Spring Games, including 3-3 in regional games. Senior second baseman Claire Johnson paced the Eagles at the plate with a .421 batting average, while sophomore outfielder Alicia Webb hit .387. Junior pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt was 4-2 in the circle with a 1.75 ERA and a .183 opponent batting average.
• Last week. After going 1-3 to start The Spring Games, the Eagles finished the eight-day trip with a 5-3 record last week. Johnson led USI with a .538 batting average (14-26), three doubles, three triples, a home run, eight RBIs and eight runs scored. Senior catcher Lindsey Barr hit .435 (10-23) with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and a team-best 10 RBIs, while Leonhardt went 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA, .177 opponent batting average and 38 strikeouts.
• Johnson named GLVC Player of Week. Johnson was named the GLVC Player of the Week for her efforts last week. In addition to her .538 batting average, Johnson had a .613 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage. She drew five walks and struck out just two times.
• Johnson breaks record for career walks. Senior second baseman Claire Johnson set the program’s all-time record for career walks when she drew her 83rd career base on balls in USI’s win over Saint Anselm. She passed former All-American and current Assistant Coach MacKenzi Dorsam, who drew 82 free passes during her career at USI.
• Leonhardt ends Spring Games with shutdown performance. Leonhardt finished The Spring Games on a strong note. After earning a 2-1 win over No. 12 Saint Anselm, Leonhardt tossed back-to-back one-hit shutouts in USI’s wins over Findlay and Dominican (New York). Including a scoreless 1-2-3 inning in USI’s 4-3 loss to California-Pennsylvania on Saturday, Leonhardt struck out 29 of the 49 batters she faced. She tossed pitches to just four batters over the minimum in the process and did not issue a walk in the 15 innings of work. She had a no-hitter with two outs in the seventh inning of USI’s 5-0 win over Findlay before surrendering her first hit; then took a perfect game into the sixth inning of USI’s 6-0 win over Dominican before a lead-off single ended the no-hit bid.
• NFCA Top 25. The University of Indianapolis (No. 24) is the only team from the GLVC that is in this week’s Top 25, while No. 10 Grand Valley State (GLIAC), No. 16 Wayne State (GLIAC) and No. 19 Cedarville (GMAC) are the only other Midwest Region teams in the rankings.
• Offensive leaders. Johnson leads the Eagles in batting average (.408), triples (5), on base percentage (.488), runs scored (21) and is tied for the team lead in RBIs (15). Leonhardt is hitting .368 with a team-best six sacrifices, while Barr is hitting .311 with a team-high four home runs and 13 RBIs. Junior outfielder Allison Schubert (Nicholasville, Kentucky) is hitting .299 with a team-high six doubles and 15 RBIs, while senior outfielder/pitcher Caitlyn Bradley has a .304 batting average with four doubles, three triples and 14 RBIs.
• Leonhardt leading Eagles in circle. Leonhardt leads the Eagles with an 8-3 record, 1.96 ERA, a .193 opponent batting average and 79 strikeouts.
• Leonhardt closing in on strikeout record. Leonhardt begins the week needing just 95 strikeouts match Brooke Harmening’s all-time school record of 642. She had 16 strikeouts in USI’s win over Dominican.
• Rematch. USI Softball’s doubleheader against McKendree Saturday is a rematch of last year’s GLVC Tournament second-round game in which the Eagles defeated the Bearcats, 10-0, in five innings. The Eagles’ twinbill against Illinois Springfield Sunday is a rematch of last year’s NCAA II Midwest Super Regional. USI swept the Prairie Stars en route to its first-ever national championship.
• Hitting streaks. Barr has the longest current hitting streak (5) on the team, while junior shortstop Taylor Ricketts still holds the season-high with her eight-game hitting streak earlier in the year.
• Record book watch.
Several USI players are in the USI career record books:
–Lindsey Barr is tied for fifth in triples (5);
–Caitlyn Bradley is fourth all-time in hit-by-pitches (18), tied for 11th in RBIs (102) and tied for 16th in home runs (13);
–Claire Johnson is first in walks (83), second in triples (16), tied for fifth in runs scored (129) and tied for 21st in home runs (10);
–Jennifer Leonhardt is second in strikeouts (547), third in shutouts (23), fourth in wins (63), fifth in innings pitched (532.2), sixth in complete games (60) and is tied for 11th in triples (5);
–Allison Schubert is tied for 12th in home runs (15).
Courtesy: USI Athletics