Then junior pitcher Nicole Steinbach pitches the ball during the first game of the double header against Western Kentucky at First Merchants Ballpark Complex on March 21. DN PHOTO ALAINA JAYE HALSEY
Clash of softball MAC West Players of the Week to face off
Two of the Mid-American Conference’s top players are facing off April 5 as Ball State softball travels to Northern Illinois.
MAC Batting Average Leaders
1. Naegele (NIU) - .435
2. Saxton (OHIO) - .406
3. Shuey (MIAMI) - .396
4. Cooper (OHIO) - .389
5. Lemieux (TOLEDO) - .389
6. Norcio (BUFFALO) - .387
7. Kossakowsi (NIU) - .385
8. Grable (NIU) - .382
9. Houck (BSU) - .381
10. Speers (KSU) - .377
Ball State is coming off a weekend sweep of Ohio to play Northern Illinois, which sits atop the MAC West Division.
Senior pitcher Nicole Steinbach earned her fourth MAC West Pitcher of the Week award for her efforts against Ohio April 1-2, where she collected two complete-game wins and a save. She leads the team in earned-run average (3.12), innings pitched (123.1), strikeouts (92) and opponent batting average (.264).
“One thing I love about [Steinbach] is that she’s tough and excited on the mound, and she’s tough to beat when she’s on,” said head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett.
Senior catcher Emily Naegele was named MAC West Player of the Week after her four home runs and nine runs batted in against Kent State.
Naegele leads the MAC in batting average (.435) and RBI (44), she is also joined with two of her teammates who sit among the top ten of MAC batting averages.
Both Ball State and Northern Illinois have nominated performances for player/pitcher of the week, as well.
Junior first baseman Amanda Arnett was nominated after hitting two home runs against Ohio April 2. Her eight home runs lead Ball State.
For Northern Illinois, freshman Alex Frenz was nominated after going 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA against Kent State. She struck out eight batters and allowed 11 hits in her 14 innings pitched April 1 and 3.
The teams will play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. April 5 in DeKalb, Ill.