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MAC Softball Weekend Preview

February 21, 2013


Akron’s win over ETSU was its first extra inning victory since April 25, 2012 when the Zips defeated Northern Illinois 4-3 in eight innings … The UA pitching staff combined for 28 strikeouts against four walks in 28 and two-thirds innings … Sophomore Kellie Roudabush posted doubles in back-to-back games against Towson and ETSU … Five of Akron’s starting position players averaged .250 or better at the plate at CofC … The Zips will return to action Feb. 22-24 at the Kennesaw State Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament, taking on Troy, Campbell, (rv/rv) Virginia Tech, Georgia State, and Jacksonville State.
Ball State
Despite not being outside since the fall, the Ball State offense was connecting in mid-season form last weekend as the team posted a .316 combined batting average in its opening weekend. Junior slugger Jennifer Gilbert led the way with a .750 batting average including three of the team’s six home runs. BSU’s batters also tallied eight doubles, including three from senior Amanda Carpenter, making 14 of the team’s 36 hits on the weekend for multiple bases. In 2012, the Cardinals posted a .243 batting average in its opening weekend with just five doubles and three home runs on their way to finishing in the top 11 nationally in nearly every offensive category.
Bowling Green
The Bowling Green State University softball team hits the road again this weekend to participate in the Phyillis Rafter Memorial Tournament. The Falcons will play in five games over a three-day span, starting with back-to-back contests against Campbell University and Jacksonville State on Friday, Feb. 22. Bowling Green’s second day of action pits the Falcons against Northern Colorado at 10 a.m., followed by host Kennesaw State at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. The Orange and Brown close out the weekend with a 10 a.m. game against North Carolina State on Sunday.  Senior Hannah Fulk recorded the only hit of the game for Bowling Green, going 1-for-1 with a run scored and a stolen base. Sophomore Jamie Kertes (1-0) picked up the win, allowing just one hit and striking out five in four innings of work. Fellow Sophomore Paris Imholz pitched the final three innings of the contest, striking out three while allowing just three hits.
The Bulls head back to the road as they will play in the Cardinal Classic on the campus of the University at Louisville.  The Bulls will meet fellow MAC foe Kent State as well as Eastern Illinois and the host Cardinals.  In the opening weekend, UB picked up a victory over Florida A&M and got several firsts from their freshman class.  Nicole Aviles picked up her first career win in the circle, while Ryleigh Fitzgerald and Anissa Pinedo each recorded their first career hits.  Sophomore Alexis Curtiss belted a leadoff home run against Texas-Arlington on the first pitch she saw in 2013.
Central Michigan
With two more complete games and a shutout against Bradley on Feb. 15, senior Kara Dornbos is now tied for eighth is program history in career appearances (92) and tied for ninth in career shutouts (16). Her 12.2 innings pitched this weekend at the Lobo Classic has also moved her up the program career list in innings pitched from tenth to ninth all time (464.2). Sophomore Carol Ann Sexauer led the Chippewas over the weekend with six RBIs and seven hits, including three doubles, which tied her for second in the Mid-American Conference, and two homeruns. She ranks tied for fourth in the MAC for total bases with 16. Freshman Katelyn Rentschler leads the team, batting .400 through the first five games and leads the MAC in doubles (4).
Eastern Michigan
Despite scoring two runs in the seventh to tie the game at five runs apiece, the Eastern Michigan University softball team dropped a 6-5 decision to Kennesaw State University Sunday, Feb. 10. The loss was the final game for EMU at the Georgia Tech/Kennesaw State Invitational where they finished the five-game slate with a 2-3 record.  Eastern does not continue its 2013 campaign until March 1, when the Eagles travel to Boca Raton, Fla. for a tournament at Florida Atlantic University. EMU will open the FAU Tournament with a doubleheader, first taking on Jacksonville University at 1 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. match with Florida Atlantic.
Kent State
Kent State’s softball team returns to action for a quartet of games this weekend at the Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky. The GoldenFlashes will play MAC foe Buffalo and host Louisville on Friday, Eastern Illinois on Saturday, and Louisville once more on Sunday to wrap-up the weekend. Sophomore Kim Kirkpatrick was the catalyst for the Flashes from her leadoff spot in the lineup during opening weekend two weeks ago. Kirkpatrick recorded three hits, scored five runs, stole a pair of bases, and logged an on-base percentage of .769.
It was a challenging week for the RedHawks as they had to take on 24th-ranked Georgia Tech twice, plus the Big Ten’s Indiana and last year’s Conference USA runner-up Marshall. Despite that, head coach Clarisa Crowell earned her first career victory and the team showed some pop in their bat that had been missing at times last season. Kayla Ledbetter and Shanyn McIntyre each had two home runs over the weekend. This week, the RedHawks travel to the Frost Classic in Chattanooga where they will take on Eastern Kentucky, Boston College, Tennessee Tech, Chattanooga and Lipscomb.
Northern Illinois
After taking a week off, the Northern Illinois softball team returns to the diamond this weekend as the Huskies travel to Boca Raton, Fla. to compete in the FAU `Strike out Cancer’ tournament Feb. 22-24.  NIU (3-2) opens the play against North Florida Friday with the first pitch set for 8 a.m. and take on the Providence Friars at 10 a.m. Northern Illinois continues play Saturday as it takes on Towson at 8 a.m. and Connecticut at 12 p.m. NIU closes the tournament on Sunday against Florida Atlantic at noon. All games listed are Central Time.
With Sunday’s win over Louisiana-Monroe, Ohio had achieved a seven-game winning streak before it was snapped by No. 18 UCLA … Ohio is 7-2 to begin the year, the best start to a season for the Bobcats since 1994 … Head Coach Jodi Hermanek is just one win away from 104 in her Ohio career, a mark which would tie her for the second most wins by a single coach in program history … Freshman pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey is 4-1 in just her first six appearances as a Bobcat.
UT is seeking their first win in a season opener under fourth-year head coach Tarrah Beyster, while returning 11 letterwinners from last year’s squad that qualified for the Mid-American Conference tournament for the first time in 16 years. Toledo also recorded more regular-season wins in 2012 (18), than the previous three years combined (16).  Despite the improvement, the Midnight Blue & Gold has been picked to finish sixth in the MAC West Division in 2013 after a vote from the league’s head coaches.  The Rockets are also going for their first win in the Frost Classic after going winless in the 2011 and 2009 tournaments. 
Western Michigan
Western Michigan resumes its early season tournament schedule at the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic hosted by Western Kentucky this weekend.  The Broncos will face yet another 2012 NCAA Tournament participant in Pittsburgh.  WMU will also be taking on Dayton, Valparaiso, South Dakota State as well as the host Hilltoppers.  Leading the way offensively for the Broncos is freshman Melissa Palmer who current boasts a .450 batting average, going 9-for-20 at the plate.

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