The Redbirds and Bears split a doubleheader, April 6. ISU won game one, 1-0, before dropping game two, 7-4.
Entering her 14th year at Illinois State, associate head coach Tina Kramos has taken the knowledge and skills she earned while playing shortstop for Missouri State from 1990-95 and transferred that into an ability to coach the Redbird hitters and outfielders into some of the finest in The Valley. Kramos leads the recruiting efforts at Illinois State and is also the primary hitting instructor.
As an assistant coach at ISU, Kramos has coached three All-Americans (Amber Smith - 2006; Kara Nelson - 2007, 2010; Abby Olson - 2010), and played a role in then-freshman Kara Nelson earning the 2007 Valley Player of the Year Award, the first time in conference history that a freshman has had that award bestowed upon her. Nelson went on to claim a second MVC Player of the Year honor in 2011 under Kramos' guidance, while catcher Elizabeth Kay won the award in 2013.
In 2013, Kramos guided the Redbird offense to Valley-best marks in runs per game (5.56), batting average (.287) and on-base percentage (.397), the latter of which was also a single-season program record. The campaign also saw Kay and Jhavon Hamilton culminate their careers after four years of teaching from Kramos. Kay left as the program's all-time RBI leader, with 166, while Hamilton became only the program's fourth member of the 200-hit club, with 206.
Under her guidance in 2011, the Redbirds led the Missouri Valley Conference in nine offensive categories by smashing 70 home runs, the second most in league history, and posting a single-season school record .515 slugging percentage.
In 2008, Kramos coached the Redbird batters to the program's third-highest single-season slugging percentage of .435. Kramos coached Amber Smith, who owned five of Illinois State's career hitting records before she graduated in 2009, while Nelson set the ISU single-season marks in hits (90) and runs scored (59) in 2007 and currently owns the school career batting record (.409). Kramos also worked with Becky McMurtry, who was named an All-American.
Kramos led Illinois State to one of the most successful offensive seasons in Missouri Valley Conference history in 2007, when the Redbirds established the league's single-season home run record with 83 round-trippers, 32 more than the previous record of 51. The 2007 Redbirds also set school marks for slugging percentage (.509), runs scored (329), hits (489) and RBI (308).
Prior to her coaching career, Kramos was a member of the Missouri State softball team from 1990-95 and a two-time All-Valley First-Team selection. A strong hitter and fielder with the Bears, Kramos still ranks first in the MSU annals for assists in a single season (152), and second-most in a career (487). In the batter's box, Kramos produced 94 runs in her four-year MSU career, a mark that stands as the fourth-best all-time in school history. She was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
Kramos has continued her softball career beyond coaching, as she was selected to the Greek National Team in the summer 2002. Earning multiple championships, Kramos played for the team that won the 2003 European Championship in Italy, while the Greek National Team took second-place honors in 2005 at the European Championships in Prague. She played with the Greek Olympic softball team in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Before arriving at Illinois State, Kramos coached softball from 1995-97 at Colorado-Colorado Springs before she spent three years on the coaching staff at Nicholls State. Kramos also played for the Michigan Cruise, an ASA women's major team.