The Minnesota Timberwolves have the NBA's most dynamic rookie in the big K-A-T.
The St. Thomas Tommies just might have Division III softball's most dynamic rookie in the big K-A-G.
What Karl Anthony Towns did on the big stage in Minneapolis, Kierstin Anderson-Glass is quietly doing in the circle in her sport in St. Paul.
She's showing a poise and a command of her pitches rarely demonstrated by a freshman, even by many of the elite players that have come through Coach John Tschida's nationally-respected program.
"She's calm and cool," Tschida said of his talented freshman. "She's the same way in practice as she is in games. When a pitcher's very consistent with throwing their pitches, what else would you expect?"
Anderson-Glass has led No. 12-ranked St. Thomas softball to a 41-6 start and a berth in the Friday-Saturday Super Regional in Angola, Ind., against Trine University. The winner of the best-of-three series advances to Salem, Va., for the May 26-31 eight-team Division III Softball World Series.
Unlike the Timberwolves' big KAT, Anderson-Glass doesn't need a slick new nickname. She's still answering to "Hoover" -- the tag one of her youth travel softball coaches stuck on her several years ago.
The Hoover tag isn't a Hawkeye state thing, even though there is a family connection to Iowa. President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa, and Kierstin's mother, Dana, was an all-state pitcher herself in Huxley, Iowa (near Ames) and pitched in 249 prep games from eighth grade on at Ballard High.
The Hoover nickname was actually inspired by the way Anderson-Glass was like a vacuum cleaner attracting every ground ball into her glove. These days, she's cleaning up on the mound, as a hitter, and as a fielder.
On a Roll
In UST's current postseason charge, Anderson-Glass has built a 6-0 record and has allowed just two runs over her last 42 innings on the mound. Over her last 13 games at the plate, she's batting .416 (15-for-36). She hasn't made an error in her last 111 defensive chances.
Overall, her season 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks among the best in the nation at all NCAA levels.
Anderson-Glass pitched 20 of 21 innings and led UST's 3-0 showing last weekend in Lake Forest, Ill. That improved her season record to 29-4 with an 0.91 ERA and 222 strikeouts to just 17 walks in 200 innings. At the plate, she's hitting .380 with 49 hits, 21 RBI, 11 doubles, three home runs and 10 walks, with 13 multi-hit games this season.
She needs 17 Ks to break the UST single-season record, and is only four wins shy of tying Janet Nagel's 2004 mark for season victories, a record set in the NCAA title season.
The freshman is among 15 players (and only two pitchers) named to the NFCA All-Midwest Region first team. She was named 2016 conference Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year, as well as the Most Outstanding Player at both the conference playoffs and NCAA regional.
Anderson-Glass has taken a no-hitter or perfect game into the sixth or seventh inning on four occasions this season. She set down the final 10 batters against UW-Whitewater last Friday to preserve a 3-2 win. The next day vs. Lake Forest, she retired the first 15 batters. She finished with a one-hitter as she set down 21 of 22 Forester hitters.
Pitching last season for nearby Visitation, the Inver Grove Heights native made All-Metro second-team as a prep senior with a 13-1 record. She attended several camps and clinics hosted by Tschida in recent years, so St. Thomas was a logical destination when she chose to play college softball.
In 11 March pitching appearances in Georgia and Florida to start her career, Anderson-Glass was 8-2 with a 1.54 ERA. She continued to improve and find a comfort level when the team started conference play back in Minnesota in early April. In 26 appearances in April and May, she's 21-2 with an 0.65 ERA.
She's put up freshman stats that match or exceed the debut seasons of the best pitchers to wear a Tommie uniform. Compare her numbers against five recent superstar hurlers for St. Thomas:
2003 – Janet Nagel, FR, LHP
2.40 ERA, 3-0 W-L, 2 saves, 16 app., 35.1 IP, 31 Ks, 12 BB, .241 Opp. BA
2004 – Carrie Embree, FR, RHP
1.84 ERA, 6-2 W-L, 0 saves, 17 app., 61 IP, 46 Ks, 11 BB, .197 Opp. BA
2005 – Maria Bye, FR, RHP
1.60 ERA, 16-3 W-L, 2 saves, 28 app., 114 IP, 153 Ks, 47 BB, .173 Opp. BA
2007 – Marta Radcliffe, FR, RHP
2.06 ERA, 1-0 W-L, 0 saves, 9 app., 17 IP, 23 Ks, 15 BB, .100 Opp. BA
2012 – Kendra Bowe, FR, RHP
1.33 ERA, 22-3 W-L, 1 save, 36 app., 158.1 IP, 165 Ks, 47 BB, .179 Opp. BA
2016 – Kierstin Anderson-Glass, FR, RHP
1.17 ERA, 29-4 W-L, 2 saves, 37 app., 200 IP, 222 Ks, 17 BB, .172 Opp. BA
Nagel, Embree and Bye all were All-America players. Radcliffe made CoSIDA Academic All-America, and Bowe was a multiple MIAC Pitcher of the Year.
Who knows how far Anderson-Glass will go in her Tommie career. It's safe to say this: There are high hopes for "Hoover."
Gene's Blog is a sports column penned by UST sports information director Gene McGivern. Gene is working in his 22nd season at St. Thomas and 28th overall in the MIAC. He blogs periodically on various topics regarding the Tommies, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and Division III sports.
If you have comments or questions, e-mail Gene at email@example.com