Game Time...Due to the snow in Nebraska, the Northwestern College softball team will not open league play against Nebraska Wesleyan but will head east instead and play Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa on Saturday, March 23. The non-conference double header will begin at 2:00pm with game two following at 4:00pm. Northwestern is 9-7 this season while the 18th-ranked Storm (NCAA D-III) are 17-3 overall. Live state are available at the following link: Live Stats.
All-Time...Northwestern is 1-3 all-time against Simpson, earning a 1-0, shutout win in 2008. They lost both games against the Storm in 2007 and also lost one game in 2008.
Scouting Simpson...The Storm are ranked #18 in NCAA D-III and come into Saturday with an impressive 17-3 record. They began the year with a 13-0 record and are 4-3 over their last seven games, owning wins over Illinois College, Concordia (Ill.), Wheaton (Mass.) and Geneva.
Simpson is a member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and is coached by Hall-of-Famer Henry Christowski, who has over 500 wins in his 18+ seasons with the Storm. The three-time coach of the year in the IIAC has guided his team to eight national tournaments and five conference titles, most recently in 2010. Christowski returns six starters, one pitcher and a total of 10 letterwinners off last year's team that went 29-15.
Simpson is scoring seven runs per game and is hitting .390 as a team. Senior Chelsea Winegard, a second team all-conference pick in 2012, leads the team with a .371 average and 23 runs scored. Hailey Jensen is hitting .507 with three home runs and 13 runs scored and freshman Kylie Van Houten bats .439 with five home runs and 17 RBIs.
The pitching staff is anchored by senior Kacee Arey with an 11-2 record and 1.65 ERA. She earned second team all-conference honors after sporting a 26-15 record last year.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders are 9-7 this season but have not played since concluding its spring break trip (March 8) in Arizona with a 7-3 record.
Northwestern is hitting .271 as a team, scoring nearly five runs per game. Junior Lindsey Remien is hitting a team-best .365 with 12 RBIs and six runs scored. She earned GPAC player of the week honors earlier this year. Freshman Laura Hurley is hitting .357 with eight runs and eight RBIs while Jillian Kleinhesselink is batting .327 with 12 runs and 19-of-21 stolen bases.
The Red Raider pitching staff sports a 4.28 earned run average, giving up 4.5 runs per game. Katie Vande Voort is 5-1 with a 3.02 ERA, striking out 23 in 50.2 innings pitched. Keely Bracelin is 3-6 with a 5.68 ERA, striking out 43 in 50.2 innings.
Up Next...Northwestern is scheduled to host Dakota Wesleyan on Tuesday, March 26 in the GPAC opener for both teams. The Nebraska Wesleyan doubleheader originally scheduled for this weekend has not been rescheduled as of March 22.