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Softball Completes Sweep of Ohio with 7-0 Easter Win

   MUNCIE, Ind. - - It was a happy Easter Sunday for the Ball State softball team, as sophomore pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker (Belton, Mo./Belton) shut down league-leading Ohio in a 7-0 victory at the BSU Softball Complex.

   With the win, the Cardinals improve to 27-16 (7-3 Mid-American Conference) on the year, but still trail the Bobcats (25-19 / 10-4 MAC) by percentage points in the overall league race. Ball State will host its travel partner Miami (18-23 / 6-8 MAC) next weekend in single games Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).

   “I am extremely proud of the way we played this weekend, especially against a very good Ohio team,” Ball State head coach Tyra Perry said. “We came together as a team and put together three all-around solid games to close the week. Now that we have seen how we are capable of playing, our mission moving forward is to play team ball, play our game.”

   For the second straight day, Ball State’s pitchers held the league-leading Bobcats off the scoreboard. This time is was Schifferdecker’s turn to shine in the circle, as she recorded her third complete game shutout of the season. In improving to 13-5 on the year, Schifferdecker retired the first nine batters she faced and limited Ohio to just three hits over seven innings of work. She collected a pair of strikeouts in the first inning, before closing the contest with her third and final K of the day.

   On offense, the Cardinals collected eight total hits including home runs from senior first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) and senior third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean). Sophomore designated player Sammi Cowger (Fenton, Mich./Fenton) led all players with two hits in the game.

   After two-and-a-half scoreless innings, the Cardinals broke the game open with a five-run bottom half of the third. With junior right fielder Loren Cihlar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) on third after a single, advancing to second on a throw and to moving to third on a wild pitch, sophomore second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam) walked to put runners on the corners. Senior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) followed with a RBI fielder’s choice to second, driving in the first run of the game. An error on the play also allowed Dabkowski to reach second to keep two runners on.

   Rager took advantage of the extra runner by depositing a three-run blast over the right field fence, making the score 4-0. The rally was not done, however, as Bickel followed with her second home run of the series, upping the lead to 5-0.

   Ball State tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, on a two-out, two-run pinch hit single up the middle from junior Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan). Gilbert was hit by a pitch to open the inning and replaced by pinch runner Taylor Cooley (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea). Two batters later, Bickel reached base on an Ohio error to give BSU a pair of base runners. Cowger would then load the bases with a single to center field. After the second out of the inning, Stuedemann sliced her two-run hit through the Bobcats defense.

   Ohio would strand two runners on base in the sixth, before going down in order in the seventh to end the game.

   For the most up-to-date news on Ball State softball, follow the team on Twitter: @BallStateSB and @TyraPerry13/ Instagram: ballstatesb / Facebook: BallStateSoftball

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