University of Southern Indiana Softball opens its final home weekend of the 2017 regular season with a pair of firsts as the Screaming Eagles jumped three spots to No. 5 in the latest NFCA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll before grabbing the top spot in the first NCAA II Midwest Region Ranking of the Year.
The national ranking marks the first time in program history that the Eagles (38-8, 17-5 GLVC) have landed inside the top five, while the regional ranking is also the highest in program history.
Due to rain in the forecast, the weekend slate has been changed as USI will host Truman State University Sunday at noon, while Saturday’s twin bill against Quincy University has been moved to Monday at 11 a.m.
Sunday is Senior Day for USI, which will honor its four seniors—Grace Clark (Indianapolis, Indiana), Haley Hodges (Portage, Indiana), Alisha Ludwig (Terre Haute, Indiana) and Lexi Reese (Lebanon, Indiana)—along with red shirt junior Sadie Foster (Plainfield, Indiana) following the conclusion of game two.
Monday is Awareness Day, a day where the softball players and coaches for USI and Quincy have the opportunity to play for someone they love or know that has been affected by disease, illness, handicap or other special causes, such as cancer awareness or heart disease. Every player and coach for USI and Quincy are wearing colored ribbons representing the person or cause they are honoring.
USI Softball Notes
- Eagles sweep UW-Parkside, Lewis.USI Softball posted doubleheader sweeps against UW-Parkside and Lewis last weekend. Sophomore pitcher/outfielder Caitlyn Bradleyled the Eagles at the plate and in the circle. Bradley hit .556 with a double and an RBI on the weekend while posting a 2-0 record with a 0.50 ERA and a .160 opponent batting average in two appearances in the circle.
- Seven-game win streak.The Eagles enter their final home weekend of the regular-season on a seven-game winning streak, matching their second-longest of the season. USI, which has won 19 its last 22 games, had a seven-game winning streak to open the year and a 10-game winning streak to close out The Spring Games and begin GLVC play.
- 30 games above .500.USI is 30 games above .500 for the first time since 2015 and the third time in program history. The Eagles were 31 games above .500 during the final weekend of the regular season in 2015 and were a program-best 32 games above .500 late in the 1998 season.
- Push for 40.USI is just two wins shy of reaching the 40-win plateau for the second time in program history and the first time since going 48-17 in 1998.
- Eagles ranked No. 1 in regional rankings. USI earned the top spot in the first NCAA II Midwest Region Ranking of the year. It is the first time in program history that the Eagles have been ranked No. 1 in the region.
- USI earns first-ever top 5 ranking.The Eagles jumped three spots to No. 5 in the latest NFCA Top 25 poll, marking the highest ranking in program history. USI is the only GLVC team in this week’s national ranking and one of three teams from the Midwest Region—No. 21 Saginaw Valley State and No. 24 Wayne State (Mich.)—in the Top 25.
- NCAA Power Rankings.USI Softball has been noticed by the NCAA as the Eagles are sitting at No. 11 in the latest NCAA Division II Power Rankings. USI was No. 12 a week ago.
- USI perfect against Top 25.USI is 5-0 against teams in the Top 25 this year. The Eagles began the year with a doubleheader sweep of defending NCAA II champion and No. 1-ranked North Alabama and had a 5-0 win over then No. 7 Grand Valley State at The Spring Games. They also swept No. 14 Indianapolis two weeks ago.
- Single-season marks in jeopardy.Freshman pitcher Jennifer Leonhardthas a shot to break Amy Stetler’s single-season school records for wins (25) and shutouts (13) this year. Leonhardt has racked up 22 wins and 10 shutouts with two weeks to go in the regular season.
- One-Two punch.Freshman pitcher Jennifer Leonhardtas well as sophomore hurlers Caitlyn Bradley and Courtney Atkisson have given the Eagles a strong one-two punch inside the circle this year. Leonhardt and Bradley rank in the top four of the GLVC in both ERA and opponent batting average, while USI as a staff is fifth in the nation in team ERA
- Beanball.Junior first baseman Marleah Fossett and junior third baseman Mena Fultonrank No. 1 and No. 2 in the GLVC in hit by pitches. Fossett has been hit by a league-high 17 pitches, while Fulton has been pelted 15 times.
- Record book watch.Several USI players are in the USI career record books:
–Caitlyn Bradley is tied for 20th in home runs (7);
–Grace Clark is tied for fourth in grand slams (1), tied for fifth in home runs (20), eighth in walks (62), 11th in RBIs (99) and tied for 11th in doubles (33);
–Marleah Fossett is tied for 15th in home runs (11);
–Mena Fulton is tied for 23rd in home runs (6);
–Haley Hodges is first in home runs (40) and RBIs (162), third in grand slams (2), third in putouts (888), fourth in walks (69), sixth in doubles (38) and tied for seventh in runs scored (121);
–Lexi Reese is ninth in doubles (36), tied for 11th in home runs (15) and 13th in RBIs (87).