MUNCIE, Ind. - - Ball State senior outfielder Jennifer Gilbert was one of 50 NCAA Division I players selected for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List as announced by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball.
Now in its 13th year, the award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by collegiate softball players across the country. The list includes 24 seniors, 20 juniors and six sophomores. Freshmen are ineligible for consideration for the initial Top 50 list. Gilbert is the lone representative from the Mid-American Conference.
The first player in program history to earn All-America honors after being named to the 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Third Team, Gilbert enters her senior season as one of the nation’s top offensive threats. She ranked 11th nationally with a MAC single-season record .451 batting average last season, while her school record .936 slugging percentage was the fifth best effort among all NCAA Division I players.
The two-time reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, Gilbert drove in a MAC and Ball State single-season record 70 RBI last season to become the league’s all-time career RBI leader (185) as a junior. She enters the 2014 season also ranked near the top of the MAC career charts in home runs (second at 56), runs scored (second at 161), doubles (fifth at 47), batting average (fifth at .381) and hits (19th at 214).
This past summer, Gilbert completed her second tour as a member of the Canadian Women’s Senior National Team. She played in four international competitions between July and August, posting a .338 batting average with 27 hits over 29 games. She racked up 25 RBI and 20 runs scored, while smashing three doubles, three triples and three home runs. Team Canada closed the summer with a silver medal showing at the VII Women’s Pan American Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, posting a 9-3 record over the nine-day event.Gilbert and the Ball State softball team open the 2014 season Friday, Feb. 7, with an 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT scheduled first pitch versus Southern Illinois in the Texas State CentryLink Classic.