MAC East Player of the Week
Lauren Gellerman, Ohio, Catcher
Senior, San Diego, Calif./Westview
Lauren had an incredible week for Ohio Softball, driving in eight runs for the Bobcats in five games to help pace Ohio to a 4-1 record at the 2013 East Carolina University Pirate Classic. The senior hit .533 (8-15), scored six times, slugged at a rate of 1.467, crushed three home runs, hit two triples, and recorded one double, all while showing great discipline at the plate and not striking out a single time. Gellerman slugged at a rate of 1.00 or higher in four of the Bobcats’ five games during the weekend and also registered two hits or more in four of the team’s five games. The native of San Diego, Calif., played arguably her best game of the weekend on Feb. 10 against Rider, smashing two home runs and driving in five runs in Ohio’s 8-0, five-inning victory over the Broncos.
MAC East Pitcher of the Week
Erin Seiler, Akron, Pitcher
Freshman, Bowling Green, Ohio/Toledo Central Catholic
Erin Seiler had a solid start to her collegiate career with two complete game victories at the Georgia Southern Tournament. In her debut against Tennessee Tech, Seiler struck out eight and did not walk a single batter in seven innings of work, allowing only two runs. In Akron’s last-inning victory over St. John’s (N.Y.), Seiler scattered four hits while striking out four. The freshman hurler has walked only three batters in 18.1 innings, against 15 strikeouts.
MAC West Player of the Week
Jennifer Barnett, Northern Illinois, Infielder
Senior, Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli
Jennifer Barnett earned Gutterman Classic all-tournament team honors after batting .385 helping lead NIU to a 3-2 opening weekend. She went 5-for-13, including a home run, with two runs batted in, a run scored and was hit by a pitch twice. Barnett played a key role in the Huskies’ 4-0 victory over Sam Houston State, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Barnett belted NIU’s first home run of the season, in the second inning of the win over the Bearkats. She went 2-for-4 with an RBI against Sam Houston State in the tournament finale.
MAC West Pitcher of the Week
Jessica Sturm, Northern Illinois, Pitcher
Sophomore, Goddard, Kan./Goddard
Jessica Sturm was stellar in her first action of the season, helping lead the Northern Illinois University softball team to a 3-2 record in its opening weekend. Sturm, who picked up all-tournament team honors at the Getterman Classic, posted a 1-1 record, picked up a save and recorded a 0.00 ERA in four appearances on the weekend. She was brilliant in her first start of the season pitching seven innings of shutout softball, allowing one hit and striking out three. She came in and pitched an inning and two-thirds of relief in NIU’s setback to Baylor, keeping the Bears off the bases. She was nearly perfect in the second game of the day with Baylor, allowing one run on two hits and three walks in six innings of work. She pitched two innings in the tournament finale, allowing one hit and striking out two in two innings of work to pick up the save.
Rachael Ratcliffe, Akron, Firstbase/Outfield
Sophomore, Bristolville, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin
Rachael Ratcliffe paced the Akron offense in four games at the Georgia Southern Eagle Round Robin last weekend. In the Zips’ season-opening win over Tennessee Tech, Ratcliffe was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Against Georgia Southern, Ratcliffe got UA on the board when she blasted a two-run homerun off Preseason SoCon Pitcher of the Year Sarah Purvis. All three of the sophomore’s hits came with two outs.
Katy Blaharski, Eastern Michigan, Shortstop
Senior, Carleton, Mich./Airport
Senior infielder Katy Blaharski led Eastern Michigan to a 2-3 record this weekend at the Georgia Tech/Kennesaw State Invitational. The Carleton, Mich. native struggled at the start of the week going 0-for-6 in the first two games of the season, but came on in the final three games hitting a blistering 6-for-8, good for a .750 clip. Blaharski scored five of EMU’s 15 runs in the final two games. The senior went a perfect 5-for-5 in the final two games of the week. Overall for the week, Blaharski posted a .429 (6-for-14) batting average and a .500 slugging percentage. The senior also posted a .500 on-base percentage and scored five runs.
Jenna Ignowski, Eastern Michigan, Pitcher
Senior pitcher Jenna Ignowski made three appearances this weekend in the Georgia Tech/Kennesaw State Invitational, including one start against Butler. In her first start of the 2013 campaign, the Niles, Mich. native tossed a complete game, allowing just one run on six hits. She picked up the win, making her record 1-0 after striking out six in seven innings of work. Overall on the weekend, she tossed 9.1 innings of work and allowed just three runs, good for a 2.25 earned run average.
Emma Johnson, Kent State, Pitcher
Sophomore, Groveport, Ohio/Groveport-Madison
Sophomore Emma Johnson was impressive in her season debut, earning a complete game victory to help Kent State go 2-0 on the first day of the season. Johnson struck out 11 Army batters and allowed just two runs on five hits. She added eight strikeouts in a 5-3 loss to host Auburn the following day. Only three of those runs were earned for Johnson, who allowed just five hits for the second straight outing. Opponents hit just .192 against her on the weekend.
Kim Kirkpatrick, Kent State, Outfielder
Sophomore, Olmsted Falls, Ohio/Olmsted Falls
Sophomore Kim Kirkpatrick was the catalyst of the Kent State lineup from her leadoff position this past weekend, helping the Golden Flashes split their four games at the Plainsman Invitational, hosted by Auburn. Kirkpatrick hit .500 for the weekend and reached base in a variety of ways, resulting in a team-best .769 on-base percentage. She collected two hits, drew five walks, and was hit by a pitch on two occasions. Once on base, Kirkpatrick managed to make her way around he base paths and scored a team-best five runs. She was also successful in both of her attempts to steal a base.
Savannah Jo Dorsey, Ohio, Pitcher
Freshman, Grove City, Ohio/Central Crossing
Freshman Savannah Jo Dorsey had a great weekend for Ohio Softball, picking up two victories to help the Bobcats sprint out to a 4-1 start. Dorsey made her first career appearance on Feb. 8 against Towson and made the first start of her career later that afternoon against East Carolina. The native of Grove City, Ohio, picked up her first career victory against ECU, pitching 4.2 innings and surrendering just one earned run. She followed this up with a nearly spotless two-hit shutout of Rider on Feb. 10, going the full five innings in an 8-0 Ohio victory, striking out seven batters while allowing just two hits and only one walk. Dorsey was dialed in right from the start against Rider, generating a WHIP of just 0.60.
Throughout the week, the freshman posted a 2-1 record, recorded a complete-game shutout, generated a low ERA of 2.40, and allowed just seven hits and four earned runs while striking out 15 hitters in 11.2 innings of work.
Melissa Palmer, Western Michigan, Utility
Sophomore, Troy, Mich./Athens
Freshman Melissa Palmer led the Broncos offensively with a .450 batting average. Palmer went 3-for-4 against CSUN on Sunday. It was her second three-hit game of the tournament and gave her at least one hit in all but one game throughout the weekend. She started every game in the outfield for WMU with nine defensive chances and recording seven put outs, two assists and no errors.
Becca Shemberger, Western Michigan, Pitcher
Sophomore, Portage, Mich./Portage Central
Becca Shemberger captured Western Michigan’s lone win of the season-opening Kajiakawa Classic, working one scoreless inning in the Broncos’ 3-2 victory over Cal Poly. She led the team in appearances while opposing batters managed just a .275 average against her in the circle.