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Softball Sweeps First MAC West Weekly Awards
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   MUNCIE, Ind. - - For their part in guiding the Ball State softball team to a perfect 3-0 record at last weekend’s CenturyLink Classic hosted by Texas State, senior first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) was named the Mid-American Conference West Player of the Week, while sophomore pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker (Belton, Mo./Belton) earned MAC West Pitcher of the Week.

   Rager, who shares the award with Central Michigan’s Trista Cox, earns MAC West Player of the Week honors for the third time in her career. Schifferdecker picks up her second career MAC Pitcher of the Week award.

   “I am proud to start the season off with two MAC honorees,” said Ball State head coach Tyra Perry. “Taylor is the undisputed leader of our squad. She is an example of the heights a talented player can achieve when she is focused and works hard. Kelsey is a tough competitor and works to win every pitch for her team.”

   Rager finished opening weekend with a .429 (3-for-7) batting average, .500 on-base percentage and 1.000 slugging percentage. She drove in the Cardinals’ first run of the season with a RBI single through the right side in the fourth inning versus Texas State (Feb. 8), and scored a run in the fifth inning after drawing a walk.

   In BSU’s win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Feb. 8), Rager scored what proved to be the game-winning run after reaching base with a one-out RBI double in the first inning. She would later come around to score on a single by senior third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean). Rager also drew a walk later in the game to finish the contest reaching base safely in both at bats.

   With the Cardinals trailing 4-2 entering the bottom of the sixth versus Southern Illinois (Feb. 9), Rager shifted the momentum to the Cardinals by smashing a leadoff home run to cut the gap to one run. Ball State went on to win the contest 5-4. Earlier in the game, she tallied a sacrifice fly to give Ball State its second run of the contest.

   Schifferdecker earned a pair of wins over the weekend, starting with a complete game victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In 5.0 innings of work, Schifferdecker limited the Islanders to seven hits and two earned runs in her first outing of the 2014 season. In addition, she logged four strikeouts while not issuing a walk.

   In her first relief appearance of the year, Schifferdecker picked up her second win by holding Southern Illinois to just one hit and one unearned run over 3.2 innings of work. She entered the game with the Cardinals trailing 3-2 and her performance in the circle helped the Cardinals rally for a 5-4 victory.

   The Ball State softball team returns to action on Valentine’s Day (Friday, Feb. 14), when it battles George Mason (11 a.m.) and USC Upstate (1 p.m.) at the Buffalo Wild Wings Spartan Invitational hosted by USC Upstate.

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