Courtesy of Ball State Athletic Communications
MUNCIE, Ind. - - Ball State softball junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert became the first player in program history to earn all-America honors Wednesday, when she was named to the 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association NCAA Division I All-America Third Team.
“I am very excited for Jenny, who becomes the first NFCA All-American in program history,” said Ball State head coach Craig Nicholson. “She put together a truly amazing season and is very deserving of the title All-American. A team-first player, Jenny is one of the hardest workers I have every coached and continuously strives to improve her game which is evident by her evolution over the past three seasons. I look for her to cap her career next season with an even more impressive senior campaign.”
The two-time reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, Gilbert becomes just the 13th different player in league history to earn NFCA All-America honors and the first since Kent State’s Marci Ridenbaugh was named to the third team in 2001.
In all, MAC student-athletes have garnered a total of 17 NFCA All-America honors since 1988 which includes two first-team selections, nine second-team awards and six third team accolades.
The MAC’s all-time career RBI leader as just a junior, Gilbert helped guide the Cardinals to a 37-17 overall record this season and the program’s fourth MAC regular season crown in the past five years with an 18-3 league mark.
Just the second player in program history to earn NFCA All-Great Lakes Region First Team honors twice in a career, Gilbert finished the 2013 campaign ranked in the top 22 nationally in nearly every offensive category.
Entering the 2013 Women’s College World Series, Gilbert's 1.30 RBI-per-game average ranks fourth among all NCAA Division I players, while her 70 total RBI are also fourth. Her .936 slugging percentage is fifth nationally, as is her 0.43 home runs-per-game average. Gilbert also ranks sixth in total home runs (23), 12th in batting average (.451), 17th in on base percentage (.534) and 19th in runs-per-game average (1.04).
Gilbert's 70 RBI in 2013 were a Ball State and Mid-American Conference single season record and helped her become the league's career RBI leader at 185 as just a junior. Her 23 home runs were also a BSU single season record and helped her move into first in program history and second in MAC annals with 56 career home runs.
In all 54 players from 32 different institutions were selected to one of three 2013 NFCA Division I All-American teams.