West looking to lead BG softball over MAC foes

Paul Barney and Paul Barney

After dropping an 8-0 decision to Michigan State earlier this week, the BG softball team has returned home to host Mid-American Conference opponents Buffalo and Kent State for four games over the weekend. Today at 1 p.m. the Falcons (9-25, 4-10 MAC) will take on the Bulls in the first game of a double-header. BG will then match up against the Golden Flashes for a two-game series starting tomorrow at 2 p.m. followed with the finale Sunday at 1 p.m. Sunday’s game will serve as senior day, in which BG’s lone senior Hayley Wiemer will be honored. The Falcons are currently on an eight-game winning streak against the Bulls, dating back to the 2004 season. The last time these two teams squared off was a doubleheader back in 2007, and the Falcons went on to sweep the series by a combined score of 18-3.’ Overall, BG holds a 14-3 advantage in the all-time series. Against the Golden Flashes, however, BG has not fared well, dropping four of the last five meetings and trailing 41-49-1 in the all-time series. With eight of their last 10 games coming against teams from the MAC, coach Shannon Salsburg knows her team will have to continue to be consistently aggressive at the plate in order to achieve their goal of making the MAC Tournament. ‘We’ve got to be aggressive,’ Salsburg said. ‘When we’re aggressive we do very well. When we’re not, we get ourselves in a hole.’ For the Falcons, aggressiveness has been the name of the game for freshman Melissa West. Through 34 games this season, West has compiled 26 hits, including six doubles, five triples (tied for ninth in the nation) and a walk-off grand slam. West has batted second in the lineup for most of the season, but a season ending injury to freshman Rachel Proehl three weeks ago has moved West to the leadoff spot. A new position in the lineup certainly had no effect on West as she has continued to develop herself as one of the top freshmen in the MAC. ‘Melissa’s been really consistent for us all year,’ Salsburg said. ‘She has done a great job for us, especially taking over the leadoff position. That’s not an easy position.’ As good as West has been at the plate, she has been just as good in the field. Boasting a .943 fielding percentage, West has only committed just seven errors in 122 total chances at third base. With 10 games remaining and great numbers on both sides of the ball, West has a real good shot at being named to the MAC’s All-Freshman Team.