Softball looks to snap losing streak


File Photo

Jasmine Lara takes a look down at the base.

David Koier, Courier Staff

WICHITA, Kan.- The Western Illinois Leathernecks softball team faces off against the Missouri State Bears in the first round of the Wichita State University Tournament on Saturday. The Leathernecks are 6-13, and currently on a two game losing streak.

Both of those losses came against the Auburn University Tigers last weekend in a tournament hosted at Auburn. The most recent loss for the Purple and Gold was last Sunday to the Tigers. The Leathernecks came up scoreless losing 7-0 with the loss being from junior pitcher Megan Lotarski. Lotarski is 3-5 on the season and has an ERA of 3.29 and 19 strikeouts. Lotarski is tied for fourth, along with fellow Leatherneck pitcher Emily Ira in the Summit League for ERA.

Another top pitcher for the Leathernecks is Ira. Ira also has a 3.29 ERA but has one less win bringing her record to 2-5. Ira has six complete games on the season tossing two shutouts in her seven starts. Ira leads the team in strikeouts, throwing 51 punch-outs on the season, which places her number three in the Summit League. Ira also has only walked seven batters in her 49-innings pitched. Ira was named Summit League Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 26.

An offensive leader for the Purple and Gold is sophomore center fielder Jasmine Lara. Lara leads the team with a batting average of .370, striking out in only six plate appearances. Lara is one of five Leathernecks to have played in all 19 games this season. Lara also leads the team in on base with 46.9 percent. Defensively, Lara has a perfect fielding percentage with 28 catches and 27 putouts.

Senior right fielder Rachel Beatty has been doing great things for the Leathernecks this season. The senior has a .295 batting average in her 18 starts, only sitting out one game this season. Beatty has a .432 slugging percentage, four RBIs and one home run with only seven strikeouts in her 44 at bats.

Beatty also leads the team and places fifth in the Summit league for stolen bases so far this season with three. Beatty has been a strong defensive help for the Purple and Gold this season, making 37 catches, 33 putouts, and scoring four assists awarding her a perfect fielding percentage.

Missouri State comes into the game with a 10-8 record, scoring wins over other Summit League members such as the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of South Dakota. Both of those wins ended in five innings as Missouri State was up by 10 runs.

An offensive powerhouse for the Bears is senior outfielder Erika Velasquez Zimmer. Zimmer leads the Bears with a .375 batting average accompanied by five RBIs, three doubles, and a .464 slugging percentage.

The Purple and Gold face off against Missouri State at noon on Saturday. The game will be played at the C. Howard Wilkins Softball Complex in Wichita, Kansas.

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