Ball State softball is in good hands, thanks to some region flavor.
Senior third baseman and Andrean product Audrey Bickel and sophomore pitcher and Andrean grad Nicole Steinbach were both recently honored for their performances.
Bickel hit .474 over her last six games and was named the CollegeSportsMadness.com Mid-American Conference Softball Player of the Week.
The Munster native helped the Cardinals to a 4-2 record with a team-high nine RBIs over that stretch. She drove in the game-winning run against Butler, but saved her best in an 8-0 victory over UMKC. Bickel hit her third career grand slam and accounted for five of the team’s eight runs. Bickel is hitting .380 for the season with four homers and 29 RBIs.
Steinbach went 3-1 on the mound for the Cardinals and was named the MAC West Pitcher of the Week. In four appearances, she threw a team-high 25 1/3 innings, posted a 4.42 ERA, and allowed two hits and no runs over six innings against Butler. Despite a loss to No. 18 Missouri, she earned back-to-back victories over North Dakota State and UMKC. It was Steinbach’s second honor of the season and eighth of her career.
Also pitching in for Ball State is Jessica Craft (LaPorte), who is hitting .311 with three homers in a reserve role.
* Saint Xavier freshman shortstop Savannah Kinsella (Andrean) is hitting .222 with eight runs, two doubles and nine RBIs. The Cougars are 17-3 and ranked No. 4 in the NAIA poll.
* Youngstown State senior Casey Crozier (Valparaiso) allowed just four hits, but didn’t get any offensive support in a 2-0 Horizon League loss to Green Bay Saturday.
Rensselaer coach Rick O’Dette picked up his 400th and 401st wins at St. Joseph’s College on Saturday, as the Pumas swept Wisconsin Parkside 12-5 and 3-1.
Jordan Peterson (Chesterton) earned his second win of the season, while Brian Bayliss Jr. went the distance in the other. Craig Austgen (Lowell) provided an RBI.
* Freshman Zach Plesac (Crown Point) has a team-high six wins to go with two losses and a 2.48 ERA at Ball State. He has pitched 36 1/3 innings with 35 strikeouts and allowed only nine walks. He also has four saves.
* Dustin DeMuth (LaPorte) leads IU in hitting with a .379 average. The senior third baseman also has three homers, four doubles and 10 RBIs. Scott Donley (Crown Point) is batting .248 with 19 RBIs (second on the team) and a homer. Craig Dedelow (Munster) is hitting .229 with two doubles and six RBIs.
* Kenny Mahala (Andrean) is hitting .250 with five doubles, two homers and 19 RBIs for the University of Indianapolis.
* Rose-Hulman’s Kody Alayon (Bishop Noll) led the Engineers to a three-game sweep of Hanover to earn Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Hitter of the Week. The sophomore hit .545 with four runs, a double, five RBIs, and four stolen bases. He made zero errors at shortstop on 19 attempts and helped turn five double plays.
* Arizona State sophomore Brett Lilek (Marian Catholic) scattered four hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings in the Sun Devils’ 5-3 victory over USC on Friday. The sophomore lefty is 3-2 this season with 41 strikeouts in 41 innings and a 2.18 ERA.
* Anderson’s Jacob Craft (LaPorte) batted .500 (11 for 22) in five games last week. He added seven runs, three doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs and 20 total bases. He also had 16 putouts in center field.
IUPUI’s Rachel Zajac (Lake Central) was fourth in the 1,500-meter run, taking fourth, at Saturday’s Miami Invitational in Oxford, Ohio. The senior just missed breaking her own school record by less than two-tenths of a second, finishing in 4:42.44.