Ball State softball is on a roll.
A pair of Middle-American Conference West honors went hand-in-hand with the team’s perfect 5-0 record over the last week.
Junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert was named the MAC West Player of the Week.
In the team’s last five games, Gilbert accumulated 16 RBIs, eight runs scored and six homeruns.
Now with 19 homeruns, Gilbert has tied the single-season conference record set by Kelli Metzger of Akron in 1999.
Metzger previously held the record for career RBIs as well, with 167. Gilbert not only tied, but easily moved past that mark last week with her new total of 173 career RBIs.
Coach Craig Nicholson knows that great individual play is important, but also knows that it comes as a result of great team play.
“Having a constant in the middle of your order is great for an offense,” Nicholson said of Gilbert. “The people around her are doing a pretty good job. If you’re going to drive in that many runs, you’re gonna have to have people with good at-bats and people on base.”
Junior Taylor Rager, for example, has started just one less game than Gilbert this season. Along with a .418 batting average, Rager has accumulated 51 hits and 30 RBIs.
Senior outfielder Amanda Carpenter has added 31 RBIs and 25 runs of her own.
It has not been all about offense though.
The MAC-West recognizes one player and one pitcher on a weekly basis. Last week, a Ball State player earned each honor. It was the Cardinals’ fifth sweep of the awards this season.
Freshman pitcher Nicole Steinbach shares the MAC Pitcher of the Week honors with Central Michigan’s Kara Dornbos.
Steinbach opened the week with a win over Akron. The freshman held her conference opponent to just two hits and three walks over seven innings, all while throwing five strikeouts.
Steinbach has a 2.29 ERA this season. With 16 starts and 15 complete games on the season, she has given up 113 hits while striking out 90 hitters.
Ball State has been offensively dominant in recent years. In seven years with Nicholson as coach, the program has set countless records and earned multiple accolades as a result of their high-powered offenses.
With solid pitching from a pair of freshmen in Steinbach and Kelsey Schifferdecker, Ball State looks to be a well-rounded team in the seasons to come.
The solid play from both sides of the ball will only ensure that more individual players have the opportunity to earn recognition from outside the program.
Ball State will return to action at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Ohio State.