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Softball Begins MAC Tournament Wednesday in Akron
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MUNCIE, Ind. - Ball State Softball finished the 2011 regular season with a 33-22 overall record and 13-8 mark in the Mid-American Conference and enters the MAC Tournament as the No. 4 seed.

In 2010, the Cardinals earned their second consecutive MAC Regular Season Championship title, but Ball State shared the honor with Kent State, who also finished MAC play with a 17-5 tally.

Ball State enters tournament play vs. No. 5 Eastern Michigan at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio, at 11 a.m. The 2011 season marks the fourth consecutive season in which Ball State has made it to the conference tournament.

In 2010, Ball State became the first team in program history to earn league titles in both the regular season and conference tournament and the squad defeated Kent State 5-1 in the championship game.

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: As a team, Ball State owns a .325 batting average, while its opponents are batting .274, in addition to scoring 315 runs (5.7 runs/game), while allowing 210 runs (3.8 runs/game).

The Cardinals enter the tournament ranked first in batting average (.324), runs scored (284), hits (464), RBI (260), triples (11), total bases (676), at bats (1432), innings pitched (336.0), wins (32), fielding percentage (.973) and putouts (1008).

Six players are batting over .300 as senior right fielder Alyssa Collins (Fortville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) continues to lead the squad at the plate with a .411 batting average, including 11 doubles, one triple, one home run and 25 RBI, while freshman first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) ranks second on the squad with a .362 batting average, including 10 doubles, seven home runs and 43 RBI.

Senior shortstop Alicia Barkley (Oklahoma City, Okla./Putnam City) has also had impact at the plate this season and is hitting at a .357 clip and has recorded eight doubles, two triples, two home runs, 17 RBI and a team-high 20 stolen bases.

Sophomore Audra Sanders (Lynnville, Ind./Tecumseh) leads the Cardinals from the circle as she has made 35 appearances with a 3.03 ERA in 184.2 innings of work, while junior Kim Mazzapica (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) owns a 3.05 ERA on the season after 87.1 innings pitched for an 8-2 record. Junior Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz./Wickenburg) owns a 4.30 ERA in 88.0 innings pitched with 23 appearances for an 8-6 record.

GILBERT GRABS MAC HONORS: Freshman Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) has earned Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week honors for the second time in the season and in her career.

Gilbert had an outstanding week for Ball State against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois as she went 7-for-15 with four home runs, 12 RBI and five runs scored for a 1.267 slugging percentage.

In Ball State's 12-4 victory versus the Broncos Friday afternoon in six-innings, she hit a two-run blast to center field to drive in classmate Taylor Rager. The home run marked Gilbert's second on the day and 13th on the season, breaking Ball State's single season home run record, previously held by Jen Reifschneider in 2009 (11).

CONSECUTIVE GAMES: Barkley and Collins hold Ball State's longest streak of consecutive games started at 235. The seniors have started every game since 2008. Including games from the current season, Barkley has started all 235 games at shortstop, while Collins has started 219 games as an outfielder and 16 games as either catcher or at DP.

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOK: With 23 bombs in her career and 12 on the season, junior catcher Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) is first in the Ball State record book, breaking Abby Gross' (2005-08) career record of 19 home runs and her 2010 single season total of eight.

TERRIFIC FRESHMAN: With 14 home runs tallied in 2011, Gilbert owns the program's single-season home run record. She is batting .357, including 15 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, including a grand slam and 61 RBI.

In the MAC, Gilbert ranks first in RBI (61), first in total bases (127), fourth in hits (66), is tied for second home runs (14), tied for second in doubles (15) and tied for third in runs scored (40).

BALL STATE'S STANDINGS IN THE MAC:

Individual Stats (Top 5)

 

Individual Batting:

Collins: 4th, .411

Hits:

Collins: 1st, 79 (1.44 H/G)

 

Barkley: 3rd, 70 (1.27 H/G)

 

Gilbert: 4th, 66 (1.20 H/G)

Home Runs:

Gilbert: T-2nd, 14 (.25 HR/G)

 

Montalto: 4th, 12 (.22 HR/G)

Runs Scored:

Barkley: 1st, 49 (.89 R/G)

 

Gilbert: T-3rd, 40 (.73 R/G)

 

Collins: T-5th, 39 (.71 R/G)

Doubles:

Gilbert: T-2nd, 15 (.27 2B/G)

 

Montalto: T-5th, 13 (.24 2B/G)

Runs Batted In:

Gilbert: 1st, 61 (1.11 RBI/G)

 

Rager: 2nd, 43 (.81 RBI/G)

 

Montalto: T-5th, 39 (.72 RBI/G)

Total Bases:

Gilbert: 1st, 127 (2.31 TB/G)

 

Collins: 5th, 95 (1.73 TB/G)

Walks:

Wilczynski: T-1st, 29 (.66 BB/G)

Slugging Percentage:

Montalto: 3rd, .697

Wins:

Sanders: 3rd, 17-14

Innings Pitched:

Sanders: 2nd, 184.2 (5.28 IP/G)

Strikeouts:

Sanders: 4th, 142 (5.38 SO/G)

Appearances:

Sanders: 5th, 35

Saves:

Mazzapica: T-2nd, 2

Games Started:

Sanders: 2nd, 28

Shutouts:

Sanders: T-5th, 4

Complete Games:

Sanders: 2nd, 19

   

Team Stats (Top 3)

 

Batting Average:

1st, .325

Slugging Percentage:

1st, .482

On Base Percentage:

2nd, .405

Runs Scored:

1st, 315

Hits:

1st, 500

Runs Batted In:

1st, 289

Doubles:

2nd, 90

Triples:

1st, 11

Home Runs:

T-2nd, 43

Total Bases:

1st, 741

Total Plate Appearances:

1st, 1777

At Bats:

1st, 1537

Walks:

2nd, 183

Strikeouts:

3rd, 247

Sac Flies:

1st, 12

Stolen Bases:

2nd, 88

Steal Attempts:

2nd, 107

Grounded Into DP:

T-2nd, 4

Innings Pitched:

1st, 361.0

Batters Struck Out

3rd, 262

Batters SO Out Looking:

2nd, 85

Wins:

1st, 33

Sac Bunts Allowed:

2nd, 39

Sac Flies Allowed;

T-2nd, 12

Triples Allowed:

T-3rd, 5

Hit Batters: 

3rd, 34

Fielding Percentage:

1st, .973

Chances:

3rd, 1484

Putouts:

1st, 1083

Passed Balls:

T-1st, 18

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Ball State has traveled a total of approximately 5,950 miles this season after visiting Clarksville, Tenn. for the Austin Peay Tournament and a round-trip total of 718 miles, in addition to the 1,149 mile venture to Woodstock, Ga. for the Phyllis Rafter Memorial and back.

The cruise to the Under Armour Invitational and Under Armour Showcase racked up approximately 2,138 miles round trip, in addition to a 211.5 mile pit-stop to Orlando in-between. Then, a voyage over to Troutville, Va. for the Radford Tournament added another 933 miles and the excursion to Oxford, Ohio for the Miami Tournament added 150 miles, before Ball State started MAC play in Athens, Ohio and Akron, Ohio, adding an additional 650 miles to the squad's tally.

CARDINALS ADD FIVE: Ball State head coach Craig Nicholson announced that five student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to join the Ball State softball program for the 2012 season. Loren Cihar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North), Taylor Cox (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica), Jessica Craft (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte), Haley Smith (Baytown, Texas/Lee) and Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) will be joining the returning Cardinals next season.

CARDINALS PICKED FIRST IN MAC WEST: Ball State was picked to finish first in the MAC West Division in the preseason coaches' poll, followed by Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Toledo. In the East Division, Miami was selected to win, followed by Ohio, Kent State, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Akron. The RedHawks were also predicted to win the 2011 MAC tournament title.

Live stats will be provided for all games on Mac-Sports.com.

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