BOCA RATON, Fla. - - The Ball State softball team opened the second day of the FAU Classic with a 9-1 (6) victory over league foe Eastern Michigan, before falling to Michigan State 4-2 in its second game Saturday.
With the split, the Cardinals' record moves to 8-5 on the season and to 2-2 so far in the FAU Classic hosted by Florida Atlantic.
The Cardinals conclude play in the tournament Sunday, with a 9 p.m. scheduled first pitch versus Jacksonville.
GAME 1 RECAP: Ball State 9 - Eastern Michigan 1
Junior third baseman Audrey Bickel gave the Ball State softball team its first walk-off victory of the season with a three-run homer over the left field wall to complete a 9-1 (6 inning) run-rule of Mid-American Conference foe Eastern Michigan in non-conference action Saturday morning on the second day of the FAU Classic.
After falling behind 1-0, the Cardinals rallied to score the game's final nine runs behind to back up a solid effort in the circle from freshman pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker. In improving to 4-0 in the circle this season, Schifferdecker limiting the Eagles (3-5) to just one run and four hits over 6.0 innings of work. She also struck out on batter.
Bickel's home run was her fourth of the season, and helped her finish the game 1-for-2 at the plate with four RBI, one run scored and a walk.
Sophomore Taylor Cox led the Ball State offense with two hits in the game, going 2-for-3 with a RBI and run scored. Sophomore right fielder Hanne Stuedemann added her first triple of the season in a 1-for-3 effort, while also driving in two runs, scoring once and logging a walk.
Eastern Michigan got on the scoreboard first, with a first-inning RBI single from Nellie Coquillard.
After being held scoreless in the first, the Cardinals tallied their first three runs of the game in the bottom of the second. Sophomore catcher Jessica Craft drove in the first two runs with a two-run double which plated senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter (fielder's choice) and freshman shortstop Selena Reyna (hit by pitch). Cox would follow with a RBI single to center, driving in Craft.
Ball State extended its lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth, with Stuedemann's triple driving in the first two runs. Cox led off the inning with a bunt, while freshman designated player Briana Evans reached on an error to set up Stuedemann. BSU's final run of the frame came on a sacrifice fly from Bickel.
Bickel would end the game with one out in the sixth after back-to-back one-out walks to Stuedemann and Gilbert preceded her first-pitch home run.
Lindsay Rich (1-1) picked up the pitching loss for Eastern Michigan, allowing three runs and three hits over 1.1 innings of work.
GAME 2 RECAP: Michigan State 4 - Ball State 2
Despite scoring the game's first two runs, the Cardinals suffered a 4-2 setback to Michigan State (9-6) in its final game of the second day of the FAU Classic.
Senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter led the Cardinals at the plate versus MSU by going 2-for-3, while sophomore designated player Hanne Stuedemann and freshman shortstop Selena Reyna each tallied a double.
With one out in the second, Ball State would push across the game's first run on a walk to senior catcher Sadie Robertson which was followed by a RBI double from Reyna.
Stuedemann led off the third inning with a double of her own, and after advancing to third on a wild pitch would come around to score on a RBI single from junior third baseman Audrey Bickel.
Michigan State managed to tie the game in the bottom of the third on a two-run double from Sarah Bowling.
MSU would score what proved to be the game-winning runs in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out double down the line from Jayme O'Bryant.
Despite limiting the Spartans to six runs and four hits over 6.0 innings, freshman pitcher Nicole Steinbach picked up the loss for the Cardinals, falling to 3-3 on the year. Steinbach would strike out four batters in the contest, while walking just two.
Kelly Smith earned the win for Michigan State by striking out 14 batters and limiting BSU's offense to just two runs and seven hits over 7.0 innings. MSU's ace improved to 7-2 with the win.