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Rudiger leads Falcons lineup

April 12, 2007

On the way to a 17-5 overall record this season, the Falcons women’s softball team offense has been powered by the play of several starters.

Leading the way for the team is sophomore starting shortstop and lead off hitter Mindy Rudiger.

An elementary education major and coaching minor, Rudiger, from Menomonie, Wis., chose to attend UW-River Falls for the education program and the town itself. She said it is a very “homey” place. She has two older sisters who also went to school at UWRF and said she had pretty much made up her mind to come here by her junior year of high school even though she had been recruited by other schools for tennis and softball. She plays varsity tennis in the fall and is also involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and intramural basketball. She said plans to graduate in spring 2010.

Rudiger has been the lead off hitter since joining the team. Head coach Faye Perkins said Rudiger has been so successful in the role, not only because she has speed and is a smart base runner, but also because she is a gamer and likes batting in the lead off position.

The lead off hitter’s job is to get on base and get into scoring position for the middle of the lineup.

Her freshman year, Rudiger led the Falcons starters in hits with 47, on-base percentage with .417, total bases with 68 and walks with 16. She also finished second on the team with three home runs and a .348 batting average, contributed 18 RBIs and led the team with 35 runs scored.

Her season earned her the team’s Best Offensive Player award and also received honorable mention honors on the All-WIAC team.

Her freshman year was also her first time playing shortstop; in high school she was a pitcher, but the team was already set for that position.

“We have five great pitchers on the team and I would help out the team most at shortstop rather than on the mound,” Rudiger said.

Rudiger led the team with 15 errors last season, but was valuable to the team in her starting position.

“Mindy has all the tools she needs to be an outstanding shortstop, she’s quick, reads the ball well and has great ball sense,” Perkins said.

This season she has stayed consistent and is second on the team in hits, batting average and on base percentage. She is also leading the team in walks with 12 and in home runs five (a new team record), which is somewhat uncommon for a lead off hitter. She hasn’t changed anything in her batting approach though.

“I just step in the box every time with the goal of making solid contact,” Rudiger said. “If the ball happens to go over the fence, great. If not, I’m hopefully on base.”

Rudiger said her expectation for the rest of the season is to break the school record of 29 games won in a season.

“Every day we work hard to meet that goal,” she said.