Teams receive pitching honors

The Northern Kentucky University baseball and softball teams may not have gotten the results they were looking for over the weekend, but a pitcher from each team was awarded Pitcher of the Week honor.

Dave Middendorf and April Ehlers were recognized by the Great Lakes Valley Conference on Monday, Feb. 22, for their efforts over the weekend.

Middendorf, a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, has now won the GLVC Pitcher of the Week honors three times with two of those coming during his freshman season. Ehlers became the first softball pitcher to win the Pitcher of the Week honors since Amanda Smith did so on Feb. 12, 2007, according to the NKU Athletics Web site.

Middendorf hurled five innings in the NKU baseball team’s 12-0 season-opening victory over Montevallo (Ala.) University on Saturday. He allowed the Falcons just four hits and one walk while striking out five. It marked the first time since the 2006 season that NKU had won its opening game.

The Norse finished out the weekend against Montevallo by putting up strong offensive numbers, but the Falcons were able to produce better numbers en route to winning the nightcap on Saturday 9-8 and the series finale 13-9 on Sunday.

Jeff Bohlen hit 7-for-12 (.583) on the weekend with three doubles and four RBIs. Shannon McCormick equaled his 2009 home run total in the season-opener as he smacked two bombs over the left center fence.

Ehlers, a junior from Greenville, Ind., went 2-2 against tough competition during the Norse’s season-opening trip to Decatur, Ala., for the UAH Charger Chillout. NKU could only muster a 2-4 record in the 6-game event.

Ehlers’ two wins came against Columbus (Ga.) State University (8-0) and the University of West Georgia (4-3). In the victory against Columbus State on Saturday, Ehlers tossed five shutout innings and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out eight.

Ehlers would pick up her second win of the day on Saturday, but not as the starting pitcher. Chelsie Roy started for NKU but couldn’t retire any of the five batters she faced before giving way to Ehlers, who kept the Norse in the game by allowing just one hit the rest of the way.

NKU opened the tournament on Friday against nationally ranked foes Wayne State University and North Georgia College & State University. Wayne State was ranked 20th-nationally while North Georgia was 2nd-nationally.

NKU could manage any offense against either opponent en route to losing 1-0 to Wayne State and 8-0 in five innings to North Georgia.

The Norse closed out the tournament on Sunday with losses to Barry University and the University of North Alabama, 8-2 and 3-1 respectively.

Ashley Gates and Jessica Farris led the way offensively for NKU over the weekend. Gates went 5-for-15 (.333) at the dish with two doubles, two runs scored, four RBIs and NKU’s lone home run. Farris was tremendous at the plate going 8-for-20 (.400) with two runs scored and one RBI.

The baseball team will be back in action this weekend as they travel to Memphis, Tenn., for a three-game series against Christian Brothers University on Feb. 27-28.

The softball team will have some time off before opening the home and GLVC portion of their schedule as the host Rockhurst University on March 5 and Quincy University on March 6.

Story by Chad Hensley