PROVIDENCE TAKES ON USF... The Providence College softball team finished seventh in the BIG EAST Conference standings to earn a spot in the BIG EAST Softball Championship. Providence (23-27-1, 9-13 BIG EAST) will play the second-seeded USF (40-14, 18-3 BIG EAST) at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 at the USF Softball Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
PROVIDENCE IN BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP... In all, the Friars have reached the BIG EAST Championship 11 times (1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 & 2013), including three times in the last four seasons. Under Head Coach Kerri Jacklets, the Friars have made the BIG EAST Championship field five times. Providence captured its only BIG EAST Championship crown in 1994.
PROVIDENCE VERSUS USF IN BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP... Providence lost its only meeting with the USF Bulls in the 2008 BIG EAST Championship Quarterfinals, 8-6, in Louisville, Ky.
SCOUTING USF... USF earned the two seed in the BIG EAST Softball Championship after compiling an 18-3 conference record. USF garnered a 26-7 overall home record and a 9-2 home record in BIG EAST games. The Bulls last played on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 in a three-game series versus Syracuse, where they took two of three games from the Orange.
Offensively, Kourtney Salvarola leads the Bulls in batting average (.360), runs scored (37), hits (54), homeruns (13), RBI (41) and slugging percentage (.693). In the pitcher's circle, Sara Nevins has amassed a 22-7 record while striking out 230 batters with a 1.06 ERA. The Bulls swept a three-game series with the Friars this season, outscoring Providence 23-0.
The Friars last beat USF, 6-3, on April 17, 2010 as part of a double-header. Providence is 1-16 all-time versus USF.
PROVIDENCE'S HISTORY IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP... Providence has posted a 9-15 record all-time in the BIG EAST Championship. In 1994, the Friars went 4-1 en route to capturing their first BIG EAST crown. Most recently in 2011, the Friars recorded a 0-1 mark in tournament action as they were defeated, 6-4, by Notre Dame in Louisville, Ky. The Friars are seeking their first win in the BIG EAST Championship since 1995 when they posted a 5-1 triumph over Boston College in the semifinals.
FRIARS HEATING UP... The Friars have won 11 of their last 15 games entering the BIG EAST Championship. After beginning the year with a 2-9 mark in their first 11 conference games, the Friars went 7-4 down the stretch in BIG EAST play to book their place in the championship field.
SENIOR CLASS HAS STELLAR SEASONS... Seniors Corinne Clauss (Davie, Fla.), Jessie Bryant (Marlborough, Mass.) and Stephanie Kiesel (Ramona, Calif.) all set single-season highs in various categories. Clauss collected her 14th win of the season versus Syracuse in the final weekend of the regular season. Her previous season high was 11 wins. Bryant has set a personal best with 29 runs scored, 51 hits and 12 doubles this season. Bryant will enter Thursday's game with a single-season high in batting average (.345). Kiesel has already set five personal single-season highs and can extend that number to seven as she enters the BIG EAST Softball Championship with single-season highs in batting average (.353) and slugging percentage (.551). Kiesel has already set season-highs of 15 runs scored, 55 hits, 13 doubles, six homeruns and 26 RBI this season.
FRESHMAN PHENOM... Freshman Kiarra Baldassari (Denville, N.J.) has had an outstanding freshman campaign for the Friars, leading the team with 42 runs scored, 62 hits and 22 stolen bases. Her 42 runs scored this season is one shy of the Friar single-season record of 43 set by Kim Robbins '95 in 1994. Baldassari needs three hits to reach 65 on the season, which would tie for the second-best single-season total in Friar history. The next base Baldassari steals, her 23rd, would move her into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time list, which she currently shares with Kim Robbins '95.
THE BASES ARE LOADED... The Friars batted .338 with the bases loaded this season, collecting 25 hits in 74 opportunities. Sophomore Megan Rollings (Marysville, Wash.) notched eight hits to lead the Friars while accumulating .571 batting average.
FRIARS GO YARD... In a Sunday, April 21st conference victory over the Georgetown Hoyas, the Friars hit back-to-back-to-back homeruns en route to a 6-5 victory. Sophomore Kelsi Luttrell (Mission Viejo, Calif.) started the rally with a homer that cleared the centerfield fence. Seniors Jessie Bryant (Marlborough, Mass.) and Stephanie Kiesel (Ramona, Calif.) followed suit with homeruns to left field and right field, respectively.
LEADING THE OFFENSE... Senior Stephanie Kiesel (Ramona, Calif.) leads the team in batting average (.353), while freshman Kiarra Baldassari (Denville, N.J.) leads the Friars in both runs scored and hits, with 42 and 62, respectively. Senior Jessie Bryant (Marlborough, Mass.) owns a team-best 31 RBI and is tied for the team lead of seven homeruns with sophomore Sarah Kitterman (Houston, Texas).
SENIOR LEADERSHIP IN THE CIRCLE... Senior Corinne Clauss (Davie, Fla.) leads the Friars staff in all major pitching categories including wins (14), ERA (3.98), innings pitched (151.1), strikeouts (100) and opponent batting average (.273).
CONFERENCE TOP-10'S... The Friars had several players rank in top ten of the BIG EAST in seven offensive categories over the course of the full season. Sophomore Kristie Dederick (Camarillo, Calif.) ranks fifth in the conference with 15 doubles. Freshman Kiarra Baldassari (Denville, N.J.) ranks sixth in runs scored (42) and is tied for sixth with 62 hits. Baldassari also ranks third with 22 stolen bases. Sophomores Kelsi Luttrell (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Megan Rollings (Marysville, Wash.) rank second and third with 12 and 11 sacrifice bunts, respectively.
FOLLOW THE FRIARS... All games on Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10 will be televised live on BIG EAST TV. The Championship game will be aired on ESPN2 at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. All of the BIG EAST Softball Championship games can also be viewed on the BIG EAST mobile app, available here. All video and stat links will be listed at the 2013 BIG EAST Softball Championship Central, available here.
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