MAC Announces Softball Players and Pitchers of the Week

Updated 4/29/2013


MAC East Player of the Week
Rachael Ratcliffe, Akron, RF
Sophomore, Bristolville, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin
Ratcliffe put on a home run clinic this weekend, leading Akron to three crucial MAC wins to keep the Zips in the hunt for a spot in the conference tournament. Ratcliffe put UA’s offense on her shoulders, launching three longballs in three games, starting with the game winning two-run shot in the top of the eighth inning at Northern Illinois Friday night. The sophomore followed that up with her first career grand slam in the series opener at Western Michigan on Saturday, going yard with two outs in the top of the fifth to give Akron the comfortable 5-0 advantage. Ratcliffe rounded out the road trip with a first inning two-run bomb in Sunday’s matchup at WMU, giving her eight RBI and 13 total bases over the course of the weekend and putting her in the league’s top five in home runs this season.
MAC East Pitcher of the Week
Paris Imholz, Bowling Green, P
Sophomore, Antioch, Calif./Antioch
Sophomore Paris Imholz was perfect this past week, going 2-0 in the circle with a 0.00 ERA. Imholz was responsible for both of the Falcons’ wins, holding opponents to just 10 hits in 16.0 innings pitched. Both of Imholz’s victories were complete games, most recently holding rival Toledo scoreless in a 1-0 Bowling Green victory. Imholz also struck out six batters while improving her overall record to 16-6, just one win shy of her career high. 
MAC West Co-Players of the Week
Amanda Stanton, Eastern Michigan, IF
Junior, Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township
Junior second baseman, Amanda Stanton, led the Eagles to an undefeated, 3-0, week this week for the Green and White hitting at a .714 clip (5-for-7). The Homer Glen, Ill. native tied for the second-most home runs in a single game (2) in EMU history against Miami, April 26. On the week, Stanton slugged at a 2.000 clip, while driving in seven runs and scoring three of her own. The junior hit a pair of home runs and kept from striking out in nine plate appearances. In the April 26 game against Miami, Stanton went a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI.
Jennifer Barnett, Northern Illinois, 1B
Senior, Indianapolis, Ind.
Jennifer Barnett had a stellar performance from the plate for Northern Illinois, batting an amazing .769 going 10-for-13 from plate, including a home run and a double, with six RBIs and a run scored in five games this week. Barnett, who leads the Huskies in batting with a .352 average and in runs batted in with 34, drove in a run in every game this week and was perfect from the plate in two games. She went 3-for-3, including a double, slugged 1.333 and drove in a pair of runs in NIU’s 3-0 victory over Akron. The senior first baseman was 2-for-2 with an RBI in the 3-2 series finale victory over the Bobcats Sunday. In the series opener against Ohio on Saturday, Barnett was 1-for-2 and slugged 2.000 with her only hit a solo home run in the 2-0 win for NIU. She began the week going 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored against UIC.
MAC West Pitcher of the Week
Emily Norton, Northern Illinois, P
Sophomore, Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest
Emily Norton continued her dominance in the circle, going 2-0 and recorded her first save of the season in five appearances last week. The sophomore hurler allowed 12 hits, walked four and struck out 16. She posted two complete game shutout victories, posting a 3-0 win over Akron on Friday, allowing one hit while striking out seven, and beat scattered five hits in a 2-0 series opening win over Ohio Saturday. Norton recorded her first save of the season, pitching the final two innings of NIU, 3-2 win over Ohio Sunday. Norton improved to 11-15 on the season and 8-3 versus league foes and a 3.21 ERA with her performance this past week.
Other Nominees:
Erin Seiler, Akron, P
Freshman, Bowling Green, Ohio/Toledo Central Catholic
Freshman ace Erin Seiler was credited with all three of Akron’s wins last week, throwing three complete games including the first complete game shutout of her career in a 5-0 rout of Western Michigan. Seiler struck out 35 batters against just five walks in a total 33.0 innings of work, and now leads the MAC with 192 strikeouts in the circle. 
Kelsey Schifferdecker, Ball State, P
Freshman, Belton, Mo./Belton
Kelsey Schifferdecker picked up her second consecutive complete game victory of the season Tuesday, when she lead the Cardinals to a 5-2 victory at Indiana. In the win, she issued just five hits and a pair of unearned runs. She followed with a strong performance in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader at Central Michigan, helping the Cardinals pull out a 10-inning victory by limiting CMU two just two earned runs and 10 hits over 7.1 innings of work. 
Hanne Stuedemann, Ball State, RF/DP
Sophomore, Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan
Led the Ball State offense with a .385 (5-for-13) batting average last week and reached bases in nine of her 17 plate appearances for a .529 on base percentage … Drove in the game-winning run in Ball State’s 6-4, 10-inning victory at Central Michigan with an RBI double.
Paige Berger, Bowling Green, 1B
Senior, Rootstown, Ohio/Rootstown
For the second consecutive week senior Paige Berger hit over .500, leading the Falcons with a .538 batting average. Berger also doubled up the next closest Falcon in hits (7) and runs (4), while her .759 slugging percentage and 10 total bases also led the Orange and Brown. Berger’s week was highlighted by a four-RBI game against IPFW, thanks in large part to a three-run home run. 
Chelsea Sundberg, Central Michigan, P
Junior, Marshall, Mich./Olivet
Junior Chelsea Sundberg pitched two complete games over the final home weekend at Margo Jonker Stadium. She struck out five batters against Ball State and held the Cardinals to one run in the first seven innings of play. Against Miami on April 28, Sundberg only surrendered three hits and gave up zero earned runs. She struck out a total of ten batters in two appearances, bringing her season total to a team-high 84. Sundberg has pitched nine complete games this season, two coming this weekend, and has a season ERA of 2.59. 
Macy Merchant, Central Michigan, CF
Senior, Wayland, Mich./Wayland
Senior Macy Merchant has shown consistency at the plate all season for Central Michigan. Coming into the week, she ranked third in the Mid-American Conference with a .411 batting average. Merchant hit her fifth double of the season on April 26 against Ball State and finished the game 3-6. She followed the performance up with a 3-3 day against Miami on April 27. She earned one base on balls and drove in sophomore CarolAnn Sexauer from second to give the Chippewas a 2-1 lead over the RedHawks.  She finished the weekend batting .462 with six hits. Merchant is on pace to finish the season and her career in top three in Central Michigan history for batting average. 
Jenna Ignowski, Eastern Michigan, P
Senior, Niles, Mich./Niles
Senior Jenna Ignowski had a solid week for the Eagles, picking up two-of-three EMU victories. In two starts and one relief appearance, Ignowski was 2-0 with a save and a 2.76 earned run average. The Niles, Mich. native averaged nearly a strikeout per inning and notched her first save of 2013 in a relief appearance against Miami where she tossed 2.1 innings and surrendered just one hit. In her first start of the week against Miami, Ignowski allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits through 4.2 innings of work. The senior then tossed 5.2 solid innings against Ball State where she was touched for four runs, three earned, on five hits for her second victory of the week. She totaled 12 strikeouts while surrendering just five earned runs in 12.2 innings of work this week
Jessacca Gironda, Kent State, DP
Junior, Akron, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban
Junior designated player Jessacca Gironda had an excellent week at the plate as Kent State won two of three games to improve to 23-17-1 overall.  Gironda batted leadoff for the first time this season when the Golden Flashes swept Buffalo, 4-1 and 7-6 in 11 innings, in an April 27 doubleheader at the Diamond at Dix.  The sweep allows Kent State to enter play this week with a two game lead in the MAC East Division.  Gironda went 2 for 5 with a run scored and a walk in the 11-inning win, and scored a run and walked in three plate appearances in the opener.  Earlier in the week, Gironda went 2 for 3 with a run scored in a narrow 2-1 loss on April 24 at Big Ten opponent Penn State.  In 12 plate appearances this week, Gironda scored three runs, collected four hits, walked twice and posted a .400 batting average.  She reached base safely in all three games with no strikeouts.     
Emma Johnson, Kent State, P
Sophomore, Groveport, Ohio/Groveport Madsion
Sophomore right-hander Emma Johnson completed another stellar week in the circle for Kent State.  Johnson earned both wins on April 27 as the Golden Flashes swept Buffalo, 4-1 and 7-6 in 11 innings, in a key conference doubleheader at the Diamond at Dix.  The sweep allowed the Flashes to enter play this week with a two game lead in the MAC East Division.  Johnson dominated the opener, allowing no earned runs on just four hits over seven innings.   Johnson followed that effort by winning the nightcap in long relief, as she allowed no earned runs on five hits in seven innings.  The sweep came three days after Johnson pitched a solid game at Big Ten opponent Penn State on April 24.  Johnson allowed just two earned runs on two hits with nine strikeouts over six innings in a 2-1 loss to the Nittany Lions.  Johnson, 18-9 this season, went 2-1 for the week with a microscopic 0.70 ERA, 13 strikeouts and a 0.85 WHIP in 20 innings of work. 
Lauren Gellerman, Ohio, C
Senior, San Diego, Calif./Westview
Lauren had a great weekend for the Ohio University softball team, leading the team in hits (5), batting average (.455), RBI (4), slugging percentage (1.364), runs scored (3), and home runs (3) in a four-game stretch at Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. Gellerman had two multi-hit days on the weekend, collecting three hits in the second game of a doubleheader with Western Michigan and adding two more in the series finale at NIU on Sunday. The senior slugged at an incredible rate of 3.000 during Ohio’s second game at Western and 2.000 during Ohio’s second game at Northern.  Gellerman also had a large role in a few historical milestones this past weekend. The senior hit her team’s 71st home run of the season on Sunday, breaking the Mid-American Conference single-season home run record of 70 set by Ball State in 2012. This same home run also gave her the edge in the single-season home run chase with Ball State’s Jenny Gilbert, as Gellerman has now hit 21 on the season to move into sole possession of the top spot. Last but not least, Gellerman’s home run on Sunday made her the new single-season RBI leader in Ohio Softball history. 
Marla Gooding, Toledo, P
Freshman, Banks, Ore./Banks
Gooding put an impressive finish together last week with back-to-back one-run outings against rival Bowling Green…The freshman right-hander collected her season high total strikeouts during a week’s span at 19, including her second-most in a game this season with six punchouts on April 25 at Wright State…In five starts, Gooding carried a 2.65 ERA to lower her overall mark to 4.50, the lowest since her second outing of the spring…She gave Toledo at least six innings in each start and leads the team with 197.0 IP.