OMAHA, Neb. – A quintet of University of Northern Iowa softball players were named to the 2013 All-Missouri Valley Conference teams announced Wednesday night at the pre-tournament banquet. Jamie Fisher earned her way onto the first team, while Gina Brown, Haley Kriener and Nicole Fisher each earned second team honors. Freshmen Caitlin Wnek was named the league’s Co-Newcomer of the Year.
Junior right-handed pitcher Jamie Fisher was voted in as first team selection for the second year in a row after a notable regular season. Fisher (18-13) started all 32 of her appearances. Fisher tosses three shutouts this season and was a continuous struggle to her opponents limiting them to a .216 batting average. Fisher’s 2.01 ERA and 169 strikeouts were both good for second in the league. Fisher recorded three shutouts in her 212.1 innings of work and allowed just 171 hits and 61 earned runs.
Gina Brown, a second team honoree, played a key role in the Panthers’ offense this season with her timely hitting at the plate. Brown started all but two games for the Panthers this season connecting for 34 hits in 129 at-bats. Brown’s 23 RBI were good for first in the Panthers lineup while her five homers came in a close second. Brown put together a .411 slugging percentage and a .331 on base percentage. Defensively, Brown had two errors while recording 312 putouts at first base while adding nine assists for a .994 fielding percentage.
Haley Kriener, the Panthers third baseman, was also tabbed to The Valley’s second team. Kriener was a dual threat for the Panthers both at the plate, and at the corner defensively. Kriener started 44 games for the Panthers putting together a .257 batting average and a .419 slugging percentage. Kriener posted five doubles and five homers for the Panthers. Kriener’s speed on the bags did not go unnoticed as she finished second for the Panthers with eight stolen bases. Defensively, Kriener put together a .920 fielding percentage at third base recording 80 assists and 46 putouts.
Nicole Fisher, a junior transfer from Kirkwood Community College, has been primarily used as designated player this season and has been a tough bat for pitchers around the league to take down. Fisher put together a .293 batting average and a .556 slugging percentage in her 36 starts and 99 at-bats. Fisher leads the team in runs scored (27), home runs (7), walks (22), and on-base percentage (.421).
Caitlin Wnek, a freshman from Clear Creek Amana, received the league’s Co-Newcomer of the Year award. Wnek has started every game for the Panthers putting together a .306 batting average which ranks third on the squad. She connected for 45 hits in 147 at-bats. Wnek tallied 14 doubles which led the Panthers and tied for 1st in the Missouri Valley Conference. Wnek also connected for 16 RBI and three homers while drawing a dozen walks. Wnek started every game at shortstop for the Panthers tallying 89 putouts and 87 assists with a .931 fielding percentage.The success found in these five have had has played a key role for the Panthers throughout the year and led to a 23-24 season record and 13-8 in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Panthers earned the No. 4 seed for the 2013 MVC Tournament and will take to the field in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 4 p.m. against Southern Illinois.