AKRON, Ohio - - The No. 1 seed Ball State softball team earned a hard-fought 3-2 victory over No. 3 Bowling Green Friday morning to advance in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament at Firestone Stadium.
With the win, the Cardinals (40-14) advance to play No. 2 Miami at 7:30 p.m. this evening. Bowling Green ends its season with a 36-22 overall record.
Senior pitcher Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz./Yavapai College) turned in another solid performance in the victory, limiting the Falcons to just one hit and two runs over seven innings of work. She also recorded four strikeouts, while moving her record to 17-11 on the year.
The Cardinals offense rolled early, as a triple from senior catcher Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) drove in sophomore left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) for the game's first run in the top of the first.
A single up the middle from sophomore third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) in the next at bat gave Ball State a 2-0 lead.
Thanks to some strong pitching from Workman and more solid defense which included BSU's NCAA-leading 33rd double play of the season, the score remained 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when the Cardinals scored what proved to be the game-winning run.
Freshman second baseman Taylor Cox (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica) opened the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a groundout. Gilbert then grounded to the second baseman who misplayed the ball allowing the speedy Cox to score from second.
Trailing 3-0, the Falcons would draw within one in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run home run from Hannah Fulk. After the blast, Workman would recover to strikeout the next batter and force a pop fly to end the inning.
With its lead cut to one, singles from Cox and freshman designated player Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) put runners at second and third with one out after a heads up advance by Stuedemann on the throw. Unfortunately, BSU would ground into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.
BGSU would get its leadoff runner to third in the bottom of the seventh, but a groundout to Bickel at third ended the game.
Jamie Kertes suffered the loss in the circle for the Falcons, falling to 17-13 after allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. She would strikeout four batters.