April 7, 2014
DEKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois University softball players Shelby Miller and Jessica Sturm were named Mid-American Conference West Division Player and Pitcher of Week respectively the league announced today.
It is the second weekly honor for both Miller and Sturm this season. Miller grabbed player of the week honors Mar. 24, while Sturm took home pitcher of the week accolades Feb. 24.
Miller, a senior from Ottawa, Kan., was on a tear at the plate as the Huskies went 4-0 last week. She went 7-of-11 from the plat for a .636 batting average, well above her season average of .362. Miller assumed the team's lead in runs batted in with 23 by driving in seven runs last week. Her biggest day of the week came in the series opener with Western Michigan. While she only went 1-for-2 in that game against the Broncos, her lone hit was a grand slam.
The Huskie shortstop went 2-for-3 in each of NIU's other three games, with two RBI's in a 10-2 win in game two of a doubleheader with North Dakota and one RBI in the second game with the Broncos. She scored a run in all four games, including two runs in the first game against North Dakota and the series finale with Western Michigan.
Sturm was very effective in the pitcher's circle and the batter's box for NIU this past week. The junior southpaw went 3-0, pitching three complete games for the Huskies. Sturm allowed four runs on nine hits and five base on balls for a 1.65 ERA. She began the week with two-hit, 10-2 five-inning victory over North Dakota in the second game of a doubleheader.
In NIU's 10-1 win over Western Michigan, the Wichita, Kan. native allowed one run on three hits and a walk, before wrapping up her weekend with a complete game victory over the Broncos to complete the sweep. She allowed one run, while scattering four hits and got out of a bases loaded jam in the second inning. In addition to her performance in the circle, Sturm was 4-for-12, including a triple, for a .333 batting average with five RBIs and two runs scored.
Four Huskies have earned weekly conference honors this season. Kayti Grable
(Santee, Calif./Santana) and Nicole Gremillion
(Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) earned MAC West Player of the Week honors Mar. 17 and Mar. 10 respectively.
The Huskies (15-16, 3-3) return to action Tuesday, when NIU travels to Valparaiso for a doubleheader. First pitch is for game one scheduled for 2 p.m. CT with game two to follow.
The Crusaders (11-23) come into Tuesday's match up winners of four of their last five, including a three-game sweep of Detroit. During this current stretch, Valparaiso split a doubleheader with Eastern Michigan.
Kaitlyn Ranieri leads the way for the Crusader offense with a .327 batting average, 33 hits and 26 runs scored. Tarah McShane and Janelle Bouchard have driven in a team-high 21 runs this season. The Valparaiso pitching staff has struggled this season with all four pitchers with an ERA of 4.60 or higher.