MAC Announces Softball Players & Pitchers of the Week

Updated 3/1/2011
West Division Player of the Week
Jennifer Gilbert, Ball State, Fr., P/OF, McKinney, Texas/McKinney

Freshman outfielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) collected position accolades for her performance in the three-day Phyllis Rafter Memorial at the Twin Creeks Softball Complex in Woodstock, Ga. Gilbert earned a spot on the all-tournament team as the designated player. Playing in her second tournament with the Cardinals, she had a phenomenal weekend, going 10-for-19, batting .526, in addition to tallying five runs, 10 RBI, and two doubles and home runs against Tennessee State and Georgia State.

East Division Player of the Week
Kayla Ledbetter, Miami, Fr., SS, Gahanna, Ohio/Gahanna-Lincoln
Kayla continued her amazing start to her Miami career. She hit .462 (6-for-13) for the week with an amazing .650 on base percentage due to seven walks. In the win over Louisville, she hit her first career home run to give the RedHawks the lead for the first time in the game. She had a season-high three walks to go along with a hit and two RBI against Wright State on Friday. Kayla had two hits in games against Boston and SIUE and had a slugging percentage of .846.

West Division Pitcher of the Week
Jenna Ignowski, Eastern Michigan, So., Niles, Mich.-Niles
Ignowski went 2-1 in the circle at the Moe's Blue and Green Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla. where she posted a 0.79 ERA while holding her opponents to just a .169 batting average. In 17.2 innings of work, the sophomore struck out 18, which includes her 12-strikout performance against Albany on Feb. 25. The feat ties her for third all-time in EMU single-game records and has not been accomplished since the 2002 season. Ignowski also earned her second career shutout in an 8-0 win over UMBC on Feb. 27, holding the Retrievers to just four hits in the contest. In the Eagles extra-inning victory over St. Francis, Ignowski was clutch for the EMU pitching staff, throwing a scoreless inning for the save en route to a 7-6 win over the Red Flash.

East Division Pitcher of the Week
Jessica Simpson, Miami, Jr., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover
Jessica was tremendous last weekend in leading Miami to the tournament title at the Louisville Red and Black Tournament. She appeared in four games, starting three and earned wins in every single appearance (4-0). Her ERA for the weekend was 1.22. She threw shutouts against Wright State and Southern Illinois Edwardsville, earned a complete game victory against Boston University, and came in relief to shutdown Louisville while the RedHawks earned a come-from-behind win in extra innings. She gave up only four earned runs the entire weekend while striking out 26 in 23 innings pitched. She also contributed offensively with her first career home run in the 3-0 win over SIUE on Sunday.

Additional Nominees
Audra Sanders, Ball State, So., Lynnville, Ind./Tecumseh
Sophomore Audra Sanders (Lynnville, Ind./Tecumseh) earned pitching honors for her performance in the three-day Phyllis Rafter Memorial at the Twin Creeks Softball Complex in Woodstock, Ga. Sanders amassed a perfect 3-0 mark with a 1.74 ERA. She pitched 20 innings and allowed for 17 hits and six walks, in addition to fanning 24 batters in wins against Kennesaw State, Mercer and Bowling Green. Versus the Owls, Sanders pitched seven innings, allowed for seven hits and two walks, in addition to collecting four strikeouts. Against the Bears, she struck out 10 batters in seven innings, while allowing eight hits. Sunday, Sanders dished up just over six innings of two-hit pitching, in addition to recording 10 strikeouts versus the Falcons.

Zada Lines, Bowling Green, Sr., Akron, Ohio/Revere
Zada Lines was the pitcher of record for Bowling Green's only win on the weekend, going 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA. She appeared in three games, picking up a win with three scoreless innings against Georgia State. She had seven strikeouts in that outing, allowing just three hits. In all, she had 11 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings, allowing only two extra base hits.

Rachel Proehl, Bowling Green State, Jr., OF, Kingston, Ohio/Zane Trace
Rachel Proehl went 8-for-15 (.533) on the weekend, scored four runs and drove in one. She had multi-hit performances in three of the team's five games, going 2-for-3 against Mississippi State and following that up with a 2-for-3 effort in a win over Georgia State. She scored twice in that game as well. In a high-scoring loss to Ball State, Proehl went 2-for-4 with a triple, eventually scoring. She was also perfect in the field.

Sarah Gerber, Eastern Michigan, Jr., C, North Canton, Ohio/Hoover
Gerber went 7-for-16 at the plate for a team best .438 clip in five games this weekend at the Moe's Blue and Green Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla. The junior catcher maintained a .526 on-base percentage while knocking in three runs and a double for the Eagles and was solid defensively with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. The North Canton, Ohio native reached base safely in four-of-five contests and registered multiple hit games in wins against both St. Francis and UMBC. Gerber was clutch in EMU's extra-inning win over SFU, hitting 2-for-3 at the plate including an RBI-single to knot the score late in the fifth inning.

Alex Marcantonio, Kent State, Fr., OF/SS, North Canton, Ohio/Hoover
Marcantonio started all five games of the weekend, three in left field and two at shortstop. She drew six walks, was hit by a pitch and carried a .722 on-base percentage. Marcantonio also had a double and a triple, carrying an .818 slugging percentage. After hitting .545 on the weekend she leads the Golden Flashes with a .410 batting average on the season.

Morgan Bittner, Northern Illinois, Jr., Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Poly
Morgan Bittner improved her record to 2-3 on the season and was named to the all-tournament team following her performance at the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic hosted by Texas Tech over the weekend. Bittner, who went 2-0 on the weekend, tallied 18 strikeouts in 18 innings and recorded her first win of the season in a complete game 3-0 shutout of Wichita State to open the tournament. Bittner was impressive, limiting the Shockers to three hits, while striking out six. Not only was it her first win, it was also the first for the Huskies (3-7) this season. In her third outing of the weekend, she struck out five, allowing three runs, scattering eight hits in six innings of work in her second win of the season, a 10-7 victory over St John's, in the final game of the tourney.

Alexandra Wulbecker, Northern Illinois, So., IF, Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates
Sophomore Alexandra Wulbecker turned in a solid performance from the plate at the Jeannine McHaney Memorial Classic hosted by Texas Tech over the weekend. Wulbecker, who served as the designated hitter for NIU in four games, batted .455 with five hits in 11 at-bats, including a home run and a double. Her biggest hit of the weekend came in the top of the seventh of NIU's 6-4 come-from-behind victory over Wichita State Saturday. Trailing 4-3 heading into the final frame of the game, with two on and no one out, Wulbecker homered to left field to give the Huskies a two-run lead. She played a big role in the Huskies' 10-7 victory over St. John's in the final game of the tournament, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. She keyed a three-run second for the Huskies with a lead off double and scored in NIU's four-run seventh.

Becki Heimbigner, Toledo, So., 2B
Becki Heimbigner began her Rocket career in a big way, collecting a three-run home run as her first hit at UT in the season opener vs. Chattanooga. Over the five-games played at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, TN, Heimbigner hit .313 (5-for-16), with one double and the home run, while leading the team with four RBI and a .563 slugging percentage. She was also perfect in the field, registering 11 putouts and 7 assists without an error.

Shana Szypka, Toledo, Sr., Genoa, OH / Genoa Area
In two appearances during the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, TN, Rocket senior Shana Szypka provided solid late-inning relief against a pair of potent offenses. Against UT-Martin, Szypka came in trailing by eight, but surrendered just one run on one hit over the next 2.1 innings with a strikeout. The next day, she again provided quality relief against ETSU. Down by four, Szypka kept it close over the final 3.0 innings, allowing just one run and four hits with a pair of strikeouts. She leads the Rockets with a 2.62 ERA and opposing batters are hitting just .227 against her.

Michelle Bendewald, Western Michigan, Sr., 2B, St. Joseph, Mich./St. Joseph
Michelle Bendewald led the Broncos offensively this past week with a .333 batting average a run scored, two RBIs and extra base hit.

Meredith Whitney, Western Michigan, Jr., Scottsdale, Ariz. (Desert Mountain)
Meredith Whitney, who suffered the loss against Missouri, led with 11 strikeouts in two starts.