MAC Announces Softball Players & Pitchers of the Week

Updated 4/5/2011
East Division Pitcher of the Week
Tori Speckman, Buffalo, Fr., Alvin, TX/Alvin
Speckman went 3-0 on the weekend, picking up the win in all three of UB's conference victories. She had just a 1.50 ERA on the weekend, striking out 15 batters. In UB's two victories over Bowling Green, Speckman allowed just one run in 12 innings as she pitched two complete games. Speckman is now tied for the team lead with four victories.

West Division Pitcher of the Week
Jenna Ignowski, Eastern Michigan, So., Niles, Mich. / Niles
Ignowski went 2-2 last week while earning her first career no-hitter in the Eagles 16-0 win over Western Michigan on Saturday, April 2. The sophomore entered the bottom of the fifth with a perfect game on her hands, but a walk knocked it down to a still-impressive no-hit performance where she managed to fan seven WMU batters in the contest. Ignowski threw 19.1 innings in the circle with a 2.17 ERA in five appearances, racking up 22 strikeouts and holding opponents to a .211 clip. In the Eagles opening game of a doubleheader with Detroit, Ignowski went six innings on the mound, allowing just two UDM hits and striking out six for her third shut out this season.

East Division Player of the Week
Mary Holt, Kent State, Jr., SS, Providence, R.I./LaSalle Academy
Holt ripped three doubles and her fifth home run of the year over the weekend, helping Kent State to a 4-0 start in conference play. She carried a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage in 12 plate appearances on the week. Holt led the team with six runs batted in four games, including driving in the go-ahead run in a 3-2 win at Bowling Green with a double in the bottom of the fifth.

West Division Player of the Week
McKenna Russ, Eastern Michigan, Jr., OF, North Canton, Ohio / Hoover
Russ hit .727 (16-for-22) through six games last week to help the Eagles in wins over Detroit, Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan. The junior belted four doubles and blasted five home runs in that span, including back-to-back multi-home run games against Detroit on March 29. In game two of a double header against the Titans, she went 5-for-5 to tie the most hits in a single game by any EMU hitter in program history. Against NIU, Russ connected on her 11th hit in 11 consecutive at bats in her 3-for-4 effort at the plate. Through six games, Russ posted a 1.591 slugging percentage, with an on base percentage of .750 while knocking in 12 RBI and scoring 10 times for the Eagles.


Additional Nominees
Katie Gross, Akron, R-Fr., SS, Akron, Ohio/Hoban
Akron's Katie Gross came up big for the Zips all weekend, recording a team-best four hits in 11 at-bats, including the game-winning home run against Ball State with two outs in the fifth inning to give Akron a 1-0 win over the Cardinals on Senior Day. The redshirt freshman also notched a double, scored two runs, and went 3-for-3 in stolen bases to help the Zips go 2-2 in the opening weekend of league play.

Alex Riedeman, Akron, Sr., Snohomish, Wash./Midland JC
Akron senior Alex Riedeman had an outstanding weekend for the Zips, pitching two complete game shutouts to go 2-0, picking up a 3-0 win over Miami and a 1-0 victory on Senior Day over Ball State. The Snohomish, Wash. native gave up just 10 hits and 1 walk in 14.2 total innings, as she also appeared briefly in relief for 0.2 innings. She held opposing hitters to a .182 batting average and struck out four on her way to improving to 6-3 on the season with a 3.20 ERA.

Alyssa Collins, Ball State, Sr., RF, Fortville, Ind./Mt. Vernon
Senior right fielder Alyssa Collins (Fortville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) reached base safely in eight of her 15 plate appearances this past weekend against Mid-American Conference foes Ohio and Akron. Collins raised her batting average to .412 after hitting .533 during Ball State's league-opening weekend with four runs scored and three RBI, in addition to whacking two doubles and recording one stolen base. In game two of the squad's doubleheader against Ohio, Collins went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and tallied two RBI and three runs scored to help lead Ball State to the 12-3 victory. In the four games, Collins also recorded a .667 slugging percentage with a .562 on-base percentage.

Audrey Workman, Ball State, Jr., Wickenburg, Ariz./Wickenburg
Junior pitcher Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz./Wickenburg) helped to lead a strong defensive unit in Ball State's 7-1 victory versus Akron Saturday in Mid-American Conference action. Workman threw a shutout up until the bottom of the seventh where Akron would score only one run. After 7.0 innings of work, she gave up one run off two hits, while striking out four batters. Workman improved to 7-5 on the season with the win for the Cardinals.

Alyssa Ward, Buffalo, So.,
Ward batted .538 in UB's four games this past weekend as she went 7-for-13 from the plate. Ward also accounted for four runs on the weekend, including a single which turned into a three-base error in the win over Bowling Green. Ward leads the team in hits and doubles and is tied for the team lead in home runs.

Danielle Abernathy, Kent State, So., Adairsville, Ga./Adairsville
In four appearances on the week, Abernathy went 3-0 with a save, allowing just one earned run. She did not allow an earned run in a complete game win over Bowling Green and had two scoreless relief appearances on the weekend. Abernathy is 7-3 on the season with six complete games.

Jessica Simpson, Miami, Jr., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover
Simpson had another strong week in which she was 2-2 with a 1.28 ERA while pitching every inning of Miami's four opening MAC road games. That included shutouts against Akron on Friday and Ohio on Sunday. She now has eight shutouts on the season and is only three away from tying Miami's all-time single-season record. Simpson suffered two tough luck losses in her other two contests. She allowed three first inning runs in the second game of the doubleheader against Akron on Friday, but shut them down the rest of the way, allowing only one more hit. On Saturday against Ohio, she allowed only two runs in a 2-1 extra inning loss. For the week, Simpson threw 27.1 innings, allowing 21 hits while striking out 20. Opponents hit only .219 against her.

Daniela Torres, Miami, Jr., 3B, Harwood Heights, Ill./Lane Tech College Prep
Daniela was Miami's leading hitter for the week with a .364 batting average. She had two doubles and three walks for an on base percentage of .500 and a slugging percentage of .545. Went 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored in 4-0 win over Akron on Friday. Torres was spectacular on defense throughout the week, finishing with a 1.000 fielding percentage, while recording 13 assists and eight putouts.

Carly Norton, Northern Illinois, Jr., IF, Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest
Carly Norton pounded out a team-high eight hits in six games for the Huskies last week to lead the team in hitting with a .667 batting average. Of the eight hits, five went for extra bases, including a home run and four doubles. An offensive catalyst, she droving in six runs, half of which came on a three-run homer in NIU's 8-0 win over Central Michigan. Norton was also solid defensively with eight putouts and 11 assists while starting at third base in five of her six games played.

Alexis Joseph, Ohio, Jr., IF, Alvin, Texas/Alvin
Joseph scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning of a 2-1 win over miami on Saturday. She began the extra-inning rally with a doubledown the left field line. Joesph book-ended the week with multi-hit performance (3-for-4 vs. Ball State Friday, 2-for-3 vs. Miami Sunday). She also turned in her first two-RBI game of the year against Ball State on Friday in game one of a twinbill. Joseph also belted her first home run of the year in the game to get the Bobcats on the board in the fourth. Defensively she did not make an error and recorded five putouts and eight assists.

Emily Wethington, Ohio, Sr., New Palestine, Ind./Scecina Memorial
Wethington threw a complete game, eight innings in the Bobcats' 2-1 win over Miami on Saturday afternoon. She scattered seven hits and surrendered just one earned run. Wethington struck out five batters and retired eight in a row from the first through fourth innings of the game. She started three of Ohio's four games last weekend to begin MAC play.

Erinn Wright, Toledo, So., DP, Massillon, OH/Jackson
Sophomore Erinn Wright continued her streak of hot hitting last week, batting .611 (11-for-18) and collecting hits in five of the six games played. During that stretch, Wright also knocked her second home run of the season, collected a double and four RBI and slugged .833 with a .632 on-base percentage. Wright twice completed perfect games at the plate, batting 3-for-3 against Cleveland State, and 4-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI against Buffalo. Over the span of just over a week, Wright raised her batting average over .100 points, from a .241 mark on March 25 to as high as .342 after Game One against Kent State on April 2. She currently ranks third on the team with a .329 clip.

Kayla Houston, Western Michigan, Jr., San Diego, Calif./Val Halla
Kayla Houston pitched a pair of complete game victories this past week with one snapping a 12-year streak and the other to open the conference season. Houston allowed just two runs on nine hits in WMU's first win at Notre Dame since April 7, 1999. Her second win also represented her highest pitch count, throwing 148 times to preserve the Broncos' win over Central Michigan to open the 2011 MAC season.

Lexi Jager, Western Michigan, Sr., U, Kalamazoo, Mich./Comstock
Lexi Jager hit .533 in five games this week, collecting at least one hit in four of those five games. Jager hit her first career grand slam in a come from behind win over Central Michigan, 8-7, to open the MAC season. Her home run came with the Broncos trailing 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Her five RBIs against CMU were also a career high for the senior. Jager had multi-hit games in three of five games with three and two hits in the games against CMU, respectively and two hits in the finale against EMU. Jager is the only Bronco to record at least one single, one double, one triple and one home run this past week.