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Softball Sweeps MAC West Division Weekly Awards

   MUNCIE, Ind. - For the second time this season, the Ball State softball team has swept the Mid-American Conference West Division weekly awards with sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox earning player of the week and freshman Nicole Steinbach picking up pitcher of the week.

   The duo helped guide the Cardinals to a 1-1 record in last weekend's portion of the Louisville Classic with a 3-1 win over then-No. 24 North Carolina following a narrow 8-7 (8 inn.) setback to Wisconsin which also received votes in the Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.

   Cox, who picks up MAC West Division Player of the Week accolades for the first time in her career, continued to shine from the leadoff spot in the Ball State offense, going a combined 5-for-9 in the Cardinals two games.

   In BSU's opener versus Wisconsin, Cox led the Cardinals with three hits (3-for-5), while scoring a pair of runs. She would go on to top that performance later in the day by driving in what proved to be the game-winning run in the Cardinals' 3-1 victory over No. 24 North Carolina with a RBI double in the second inning. She also scored the first run of the contest after leading off the game with a single and finished the outing 2-for-4.

   Steinbach, who picks up her second MAC West Division Pitcher of the Week honor this season, turned in one of the best outings of her young career in picking up the win over No. 24 North Carolina. In leading the Cardinals to the victory, Steinbach limited the Tar Heels to just six hits and one earned run over 7.0 innings of work. She also struck out three batters while issuing just one walk.

   Earlier in the day, Steinbach threw two innings against Wisconsin, which moved to 21-3 with its win over Ball State. She limited the Badgers to four hits and two earned runs, while recording a strikeout.

   So far this season, the Cardinals have claimed four MAC West Division Player of the Week awards and three MAC West Division Pitcher of the Week honors. Ball State has had at least one award winner in each of the five weeks it has played, while also sweeping the honors in its first weekend of action.

   The Ball State softball team returns to action Friday, when it plays both Marist (9 a.m. MT) and Colorado State (1:30 p.m. MT) on the opening day of the Colorado State Spring Tournament in Fort Collins, Colo.
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