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Shocker SB at USF Spring Invitational

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  • Shocker SB at USF Spring Invitational

    Due to travel later in the week on my part, let's get a too-early start on this.

    The Shockers travel to Clearwater this weekend for one of the tournaments hosted by USF, the fourth consecutive weekend they have hosted. Must be something about the weather.

    Two back-to-back games on Friday for the Shocks start at 345pm CT. UT-Chattanooga is the first opponent followed by North Dakota State.

    The Moccasins have a record of 17-5. Their schedule appears to be pretty soft with no teams played that are even RV in the polls and a couple of teams you have probably never heard of. Chattanooga is picked third among seven teams in the Southern Conference. Aly Walker is the the Preseason Player of the Year for the conference. Emma Sturdivant (OPS of 1.083 and three homers), Amanda Beltran (1.080 and six homers), Hallie Williamson (1.007) and Walker (.994) are the leaders on offense. Over 80% of the innings have been thrown by Mariah Ramirez (ERA of 2.35 and WHIP of 1.25) and Celie Hudson (2.68 and 1.22). There are some nice numbers here, but again, a soft schedule.

    Members of the Summit League, the North Dakota State Bisons have a record of 11-11, being 0-5 against ranked teams. Against common opponents, they have a win over Abilene Christian (v 3-0 for the Shocks) and a split with Texas State (v 1-0). They are picked for first in the League by one point and have qualified for the NCAA Tournament the last seven seasons, winning a game in six of those Regionals. Maddie Hansen has an OPS of 1.117 with six homers. Virtually all of the innings have been pitched by KK Leddy (3.40 and 1.42) and Paige Vargas (4.20 and 1.42). Not great numbers, but a more difficult schedule.

    On Saturday, the Shockers play back-to-back again, this time with a 1pm CT start.

    Towson State is the first opponent of the day. The Tigers are picked in a tie for fourth among eight teams in the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Poll. College of Charleston, host of the first tournament of the year and a winner over the Shocks, is picked for second in the conference. Towson's record against a bunch of low mid-major teams is 9-7, having lost two tournaments to weather and probably without the budget to go to Florida too often. Julia Smith-Harrington (1.383 and three homers) and Kendall Arcia (1.037 and four homers) lead the offense. Towson has used six pitchers with (an injured, but now recovered?) Smith-Harrington leading the way with an ERA of 0.44 and a WHIP of 0.84. Sara Johnson has the next best numbers of 4.13 and 1.43.

    The second game of the pair is against Minnesota. The Gophers began the season ranked #21 and are still there. Their record is 15-7 with all seven losses against ranked and RV teams. They have two wins over Texas and a win against James Madison, both ranked teams, as well as a win over UCF. They are clearly the best team the Shockers will see this weekend. Amber Fiser (1.52 and 0.80) and Sydney Smith (2.29 and 1.13) lead the Gophers in the circle with Fiser having over half of the innings. Natalie DenHartog (1.240 and seven homers), Hope Brandner (1.114 and six homers) and MaKenna Partain (1.069) lead the offense for Minnesota.

    The Shockers close out the tournament with a game at 8am CT Sunday against Monmouth. The Hawks, members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, are picked first of its twelve teams. Their record is 8-6, having lost one of the same tournaments as Towson State. This too is a soft schedule full of lower mid-majors. The highest OPS belongs to Kayla Rosado at .871. Alyssa Irons had three-fourths of the innings with an ERA of 1.11 and a WHIP of 0.93. The rest of the staff combined has an ERA of 6.24 and a WHIP of 2.23.

    Looking at schedule upon schedule, it appears that there are 23 teams at this site this weekend.
    Last edited by flyingMoose; March 13th, 2019, 09:08 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by flyingMoose View Post
    Must be something about the weather.
    Ya think so huh?

    Friday: High 80, Low 65; 20% chance of precip. But the winds will be howling out of the South at 9 mph.

    Saturday: A cold front moves in. High 72, Low 56; 40% chance of AM Showers. Winds switch to the North at a whopping 11 mph.

    Sunday: Cloudy with a high of 73; 20% chance of precip. Winds out of the NNE at 9 mph.

    Hopefully, the Shocks will be able to adjust to the conditions.


    • #3
      I finally scrounged up the ESPN Collegiate Softball Poll. Minnesota is also #21 in that poll.

      RV in that poll are Houston (4), Shockers (2), and USF (1). Those places are 35, T37 and 40 respectively.

      No AAC teams are RV in the Coaches Poll.


      • #4
        Shocks with a couple of tough losses today losing 3-2 to UT-Chattanooga despite outhitting them 7-5 and making no errors to 2 for Chattanooga. They than dropped a 6-4 decision to North Dakota State.

        Caitlyn got the start against Chattanooga but she struggled again with her control. In 2.1 innings she allowed 3 runs on but walked 5 including 4 of the 1st 5 batters she faced in the 3rd. Hailey Maritnez pitched 3.2 innings of 2 hit, scoreless relief and Erin McDonald came in to get the final 3 outs in the top of the 7th after a lead off single. Unfortunately, the Shocks could not get the offense sufficiently cranke up.

        The Shockers were the visiting team against NDSU in the 2nd game with Erin going the distance. Erin had a 2-1 lead heading into the 5th inning. A 4 run outburst by NDSU was the difference int the game. In that inning, a lead off single followed 1 out later by a home run gave NDSU the lead at 3-2. A hit batter, single and walk loaded the bases for NDSU with only 1 walk. A fly ball to left did not advance the runners but with 2 out Erin gave of a 2-run single to make it 5-2. The Shocks scored 2 in the top of the 6th to make interesting at 5-4 but NDSU added a run in the bottom of the 6th to increase the lead to 6-4. The Shocks could muster only a 2=out walk in the top of the 7th.

        The Shocks play 2 more on Saturday against Towson and against #21 Minnesota. Caitlyn's downward spiral is really troublesome and will be a real problem if she can't get things figured out.

        Last edited by 1972Shocker; March 16th, 2019, 12:09 AM.


        • #5
          Haleigh Maritnez gets the start in the circle against Towson.

          A lead off double and a 1 out walk in the top of the 2nd put Towson up 1-0. In the bottom of the inning a lead off double by Butters Perrigan, a sac bunt by Bailee Nickerson and a sac fly to right by Ryleigh Buck tied the game 1-1 after 2 innings.

          Erin McDonald came on in relief to start the 3rd inning. The game remained tied at 1-1 through 4 innings. In the top of the 5th a hit batter and a walk put Towson runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Erin got a fly out to left and a strike out but with 2 outs gave up an RBI single up the middle and Towson leads 2-1. In the bottom of the 5th a 2-out double by Sidney McKinney to left center scored Neliegh Herring, who had reach when she was hit by a pitch, all the way from 1st base to tie the score at 2-2.

          In the Top 6th a 2--out walk was followed by a Towson triple center field which turned in to 2 runs on an error by Laurie Derrico (throwing to 3rd on the relay? not sure). Towson regains the lead 4-2 as the Shocks with only 6 outs left for the Shocks.

          In the bottom of the 6th Asea Webbeer and Laurie walked to lead off the inning. Butters then came through with big 3-run homer to left field to give the Shockers their 1st lead of the game at 5-4.

          Erin sets Towson down in order in the 7th and the Shocks get back in the winning column but it was anything but easy. Butters with the heroics in a game where the Shockers only had 4 hits.
          Last edited by 1972Shocker; March 16th, 2019, 03:12 PM.


          • #6
            Caitlyn get's the start against #21 Minnesota . She apparently is on a very short leash. She opened the game walking batter and hitting a batter and she was done. Erin came in and I'm not sure she was ready. A wild pitch advanced the runners and a sac fly scored advanced both runners putting the Gophers n the board. A wild pitch made it 2-0.

            After that Erin held the Gophers in check until giving up a solo home run in the 6th and a 2-run homer in the 7th.

            The Gophers only outhit the Shocks 7-5 but they had the 2 late gopher balls. The Shocks did have 2 doubles and a triple among their 5 hits but could not put anything together. Butters was 2-3 with a single and a triple.

            Final: Gophers 5 - Shockers 0.

            Shocks play Monmouth tomorrow at 8:00 am to close out the weekend
            Last edited by 1972Shocker; March 16th, 2019, 05:43 PM.


            • #7
              This team is in a really difficult place - and conference starts next weekend. They have one reasonable pitcher and a second pitcher that is (generally speaking) only trusted to go through a lineup once. They have a third pitcher that is an absolute head-case at this point.

              That puts a lot of pressure on the offense. Last weekend, the offense performed well, but this weekend is another story to this point.

              Caitlin has to figure out if she is a pitcher or not. If not, then go to the outfield and hit (she is one of the better hitters). The recruiting class arriving next fall has one pitcher, but she sounds like Erin McDonald, not Bailey Lange.
              Last edited by flyingMoose; March 17th, 2019, 08:55 PM. Reason: bad grammar


              • #8
                The Shocks struggles continue in Florida. Erin McDonald gets the start. Ironically, we were hoping Caitlyn and Erin would take some of the extreme work load off of Bailey this year and now Bailey is out for the year and Caitlyn is effectively out for the time being and Erin, who pitched sparingly last year, is being worked hard. Perhaps over worked.

                Monmouth took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a walk, a double to center, a sac fly, a passed ball and another sac fly.

                A solo home run to left made it 3-0 in the top of the 2nd.

                The Shocks got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd with a 1-out triple by Sidney MckInney and a ground ball to 2nd by Wylie Glover making it 3-1.

                With 2 outs in the top of the 4th Monmouth loaded the bases on a double and two walks. Hailey Martinez came on in relief of Erin and on a 3-2 count gave up a triple to center that cleared the bases and put Monmouth up 6-1.

                Monmouth made it 7-1 in the top of the 5th with a 1 out triple to right and a 2 out single to left center off of Hailey.

                Neleigh Herring's solo home run to center leading off the bottom of the 5th made it 7-2.

                Hailey walked the lead off batter in the top of the 6th and Erin returned to the cirlce to retire the side.

                The Shocks had the right part of the line up coming up in the bottom of the 6th to perhaps start a rally. Started if well with an Asea Webber double to right. Laurie Derrico grounded out to 2nd to move Asea to 3rd. Butter Perrigan ground out to the pitcher leaving Asea at 3rd. Needed a lot more from those 2 at bats. With 2 outs Bailee Nickersson walked. Ryleigh Buck reach safely on an infield hit to short scoring Asea and moving Baillee to 2nd. Neleigh reached safely on an error by 3B scoring Bailee and moving Ryleigh to 2nd. Kaylee Huecker struck out on 3 pitches to end the inning with the Shocks still trailing 7-4.

                The Shocks went down in order in the 7th although Wylie reach on an error by the pitcher but was thrown out at 2nd described as 3B to SS. Sounds to me like she reached on a throwing error and maybe got caught rouding the base too far at 2nd. Hard to say but you don't take those chances in that circumstances.

                Not a very good 5-game weekend for the Shocks going 1-4 either in the circle or with that bats. The one game they did required a late inning 3-run home by Butters to pulls out a 1 run victory of Towson. This weekend certainly brings in to question how successful the Shockers will be over the remainder of the season. I was really hoping the heading to the warm shores of the Tampa area might be good medicine for Caitlyn and perhaps get her back to some semblance of an effective pitcher but that simply did not happen. Maybe it won't happen.

                The Shocks play Kansas next on Wednesday at home and than open AAC play hosting Houston this next weekend. At this point you would have to say they are not ready. Which flyingMoose has pretty much already said in his post above.
                Last edited by 1972Shocker; March 17th, 2019, 10:21 AM.


                • #9
                  Minnesota beat USF on Friday and Sunday, both times by the score of 3-0.