MAC Softball Weekend Preview

Updated 2/14/2013

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Akron (2-2, 0-0 MAC)
With its win over Tennessee Tech, Akron moved to 23-9-1 all time in season openers…Over the first four games, the Zips only posted two errors to their opponents’ eight…Iesha Mountain picked up right where she left off last season on the base paths, stealing three bags in three attempts over the weekend…The Zips will return to action Feb. 15-17 at the College of Charleston Cougar Classic. UA will take on James Madison, Towson, (rv/rv) Syracuse, East Tennessee State and tournament host College of Charleston over the three day span.
Ball State (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
► 2012 Mid-American Conference Regular Season Champions with a 17-3 league record, Ball State has won the MAC Regular Season title in three of the past four years, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010.
► Reached 40 wins for just the second time in program history in 2012. Only 36 of the 283 NCAA Division I schools posted 40-or-more wins in 2012.
► Finished the season ranked in the top 11 nationally in doubles per game (2nd at 1.82), scoring (5th at 6.69), slugging percentage (6th at .543) batting average (8th at .318), home runs per game (10th at 1.27), triples per game (11th at 0.29). 
► The Ball State defense ranked first in the nation with 33 double plays turned and 35th in fielding percentage at 0.970.
► Ball State placed a league-high six members on All-Mid-American Conference teams, including three first team selections, three second team honorees and the 2012 MAC Player of the Year, Jennifer Gilbert.
► A program-record four members of the Ball State softball team were named to the 2012 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Region teams. Ball State was one of only 18 teams in the nation to have four-or-more All-Region selections.
Bowling Green (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
The Bowling Green State University softball team is set to begin its season Feb. 15, with the Orange and Brown heading to the USC Upstate Spartan Invitational. The Falcons were picked to finish first in the MAC East this season, a far cry from the beginning of 2012, when they were picked to finish last in the conference.
Buffalo (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
The University at Buffalo softball team opens its 2013 season this weekend at the UCF Holiday Inn Select Tournament.  The Bulls get things started on Friday morning at 9:30 am when they face Texas-Arlington, followed by Florida A&M.  UB welcomes back 11 players from last season, including sophomore Alexis Curtiss, who was a first-team All-MAC selection a year ago.  The Bulls bring back their top six offensive players, including three that hit over .300.  In the circle, the Bulls also bring back Tori Speckman, who finished with 11 wins last year.
Central Michigan (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
In her 34th season leading Central Michigan, Head Coach Margo Jonker is 33 wins away from 1,100 career victories. Jonker, 1067-647-5, is ranked 15th all-time in career victories among Division I coaches.  Newcomers Katelyn Rentschler and Trista Cox made starts in the infield during an October exhibition game against the National Pro Fastpitch All Stars. Rentschler was ranked in the top 70 in the nation for her recruiting class. Evelyn Lorimer was Michigan’s Miss Softball for position players in 2012 and set the state record for stolen bases in a single season (92).  Central Michigan is returning six starters in the field and 14 letterwinners this season, including outfielder Macy Merchant, shortstop CarolAnn Sexauer, infielder Chelsea DeLamielleure, infielder Summer Knoop, outfielder Brogan Darwin, left fielder Brittney Horan, and catcher Cory DeLamielleure. The Chippewas offense returns 71 percent of their run, 70 percent of their hits, and three of the top five batting averages from a season ago.
Eastern Michigan (2-3, 0-0 MAC)
EMU is now 2-3 on the season after five games at the Georgia Tech/Kennesaw State Invitational. They now have a 19-day break until they head to Florida for a 10-day trip. The Eagles start their 10-day trip with a doubleheader, March 1, as part of a tournament held in Boca Raton, Fla. by Florida Atlantic University.
Kent State (2-2, 0-0 MAC)
Despite terrific run production in the first inning of both of its game, the Kent State softball team dropped a pair of games on the second day of the Plainsman Invitational Saturday at Auburn’s Jane B. Moore Field.  After winning both games Friday evening, the Golden Flashes fell to host Auburn, 5-3, to start the day and then were defeated by Furman, 8-5, in the nightcap to finish the weekend with an even 2-2 record.  Kent State will be back in action in two weeks with four games at the Louisville Invitational from Feb. 22-24.
Miami (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
It’s a new era for Miami softball as Clarisa Crowell begins her first season in charge of the RedHawks. Crowell comes to the RedHawks after spending the past six seasons as an assistant and pitching coach at Oklahoma State. Anticipation is building as Miami opens the 2013 season this weekend at the Georgia Tech Classic in Atlanta. The ‘Hawks will start the event against Indiana on Friday at 10:30 a.m., followed by a game against the host and 24th-ranked Yellow Jackets at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Red and White will have a rematch against Georgia Tech at 3:30 p.m. and then face Marshall at 5:30 p.m. Miami will conclude the tournament on Sunday with another game against the Thundering Herd at 11 a.m.  Miami returns 12 letterwinners from last year’s squad, including seven position starters. The RedHawks will have a lot of experience in their infield, with a mixture of experience and new faces in the outfield and in the pitching staff.
Northern Illinois (3-2, 0-0 MAC)
The Northern Illinois University softball team swept league player of the week honors as Jennifer Barnett was named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week and Jessica Sturm garnered MAC West Pitcher of the Week accolades the league announced.  The Huskies return to the diamond Feb 22 when the Huskies travel to Boca Raton, Fla. to compete in the FAU “Strike-Out Cancer” Tournament. NIU opens the tournament against North Florida with first pitch set for 8 a.m. CT. 
Ohio (4-1, 0-0 MAC)
Ohio Softball started the 2013 season on a high note, posting a 4-1 record at the East Carolina University Pirate Classic … The Bobcats scored 28 runs while just allowing 12 in their first five games … Ohio is 4-1 to start the year for the second straight season … Head Coach Jodi Hermanek collected her 100th career Ohio victory on Feb. 10.
Toledo (0-0, 0-0 MAC)
Head Coach Tarrah Beyster enters her fourth season leading the Rockets after generating a 10-game improvement in the win column last spring.  UT won more games in 2012 (18) than the previous three years combined (16), and eight conference wins also led to the program’s first conference tournament berth since 1997.  The Midnight Blue & Gold return seven starters, including first-team All-MAC honoree and senior Lindsey Tobias (.344 BA, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 17 SB).
Western Michigan (1-5, 0-0 MAC)
WMU played two teams ranked in the top 10 nationally, No. 6 Oregon and No. 4 Arizona State … the Broncos didn’t play a regulation seven inning game until a 5-1 loss to San Diego State … WMU takes a week off before heading to Bowling Green, Ky., for the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic hosted by Western Kentucky … the program started an official twitter account for scores, milestones and updates - @WMUSoftball