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Softball’s Rally Falls Short Versus Harvard

   BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Ball State softball team fell one run short in its comeback bid versus Harvard Friday morning, suffering a 7-6 setback to the Crimson in the team's opening game of the FAU Classic hosted by Florida Atlantic.

   With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 6-4 on the year entering this afternoon's scheduled 4 p.m. first pitch versus tournament host Florida Atlantic. Harvard moves to 1-1 with the victory.

   Senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter and sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox each collected two hits for the Cardinals who pounded out seven hits in the contest, including four doubles.

   Carpenter, who went 2-for-4 in the game, tallied her seventh double of the season to move into sole possession of second place on BSU's all-time doubles list with 40 career two-baggers. She also scored twice and drove in one. Cox finished the game 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a run scored.

   With two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the first inning, Harvard managed to draw back-to-back walks to load the bases for Emily Gusse who blasted a grand slam over the left field wall.

   The Crimson added two more runs in the bottom of second when a two-out grounder to the pitcher with a runner at first led to a pair of Ball State errors which allowed both runs to score.

   Harvard added its final run of the contest in the bottom of the third on an RBI single from Gusse.

   Ball State's bats came to life in the top of the fourth starting with a leadoff double from sophomore first baseman Taylor Rager. Two batters later, Carpenter slice a RBI double to left field to plate the Cardinals' first run of the game.

   Senior catcher Sadie Robertson followed with a RBI double of her own, making the game 7-2. Following a fielder's choice and a Cox bunt single, Gilbert laced a two-run double to left center to help the Cardinals pull within three at 7-4.

   Walks to Rager, Robertson and freshman shortstop Selena Reyna would help the Cardinals load the bases with two outs in the top of the fifth, while a wild pitch brought in sophomore pinch runner Loren Cihlar to bring Ball State within two.

   After a scoreless sixth, Ball State would manage to load the bases again in the top of the seventh, thanks to a Carpenter single, a Robertson walk and a Cox single. Gilbert would ground out to second to drive in BSU's sixth run of the game.

   Unfortunately, a spectacular play by Harvard's shortstop on a hard grounder from sophomore right fielder Hanne Stuedemann would end the Ball State rally and the game at 7-6.

   Audra Sanders (1-2) suffered the loss in the circle for Ball State, allowing five hits and seven runs (five earned) in 2.2 innings of work. Freshman Kelsey Schifferdecker would turn in a solid performance in relief, limiting the Crimson to just five hits over the final 3.1 innings.

   Gabrielle Ruiz (1-0) earned the win for Harvard, combining for 4.1 innings as a starter and reliever. She held BSU to just four hits and four earned runs in her time in the circle.

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