BOCA RATON, Fla. - - The Ball State softball team ended play at the FAU Classic hosted by Florida Atlantic with a 7-5, eight-inning loss to Jacksonville Sunday morning at the FAU Softball Stadium.
With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 8-6 on the year and end the three-day tournament with a 2-3 mark. The Dolphins, who improved to 14-5 overall with the win, posted a 4-1 record at the FAU Classic.
Three Ball State players finished Sunday's game with two hits apiece, led by sophomore right fielder Hanne Stuedemann who went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Ball State opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with three consecutive two-out hits. Sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox started the rally with a single up the middle and a swipe of second base. Stuedemann followed with a double off the center field wall to drive in the game's first run. Junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert made the score 2-0 with an RBI single to right-center field.
Jacksonville would cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth on a one-out, solo home run from Emily Sanchez.
However, the Cardinals would get the run back an inning-and-a-half later on Stuedemann's second RBI hit of the game, a single to left which plated Cihlar who singled and stole second.
Trailing 3-1, Jacksonville would load the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth and proceed to score a pair of runs to even the score on a RBI single from Ashley Simon and a Ball State fielding error.
Ball State answered with a run in the bottom of the frame to regain the lead at 4-3. After a leadoff single from Rager, freshman pinch runner Emily Dabkowski would advance to second on a groundout. Senior catcher Sadie Robertson would then drop a single into right field which allowed Dabkowski just enough time to slide under the tag at home and score.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins used a one-out single from Victoria Brown followed by a RBI triple from Codi Kelly to tie the score for a second time in the top of the seventh.
After holding Ball State off the board in the bottom of the seventh, Jacksonville posted three runs in the top of the eighth to pull ahead 7-4. With runners at second and third and no outs, the Cardinals were able to retire two batters before a blooper from Miranda Fleming kept the inning alive and drove in two runs. An BSU error on the play and a wild pitch would allow Fleming to reach third, while a RBI single from Sable Lee added an insurance run.
Ball State would get one run back on a leadoff double from Rager, which scored junior third baseman Audrey Bickel who was placed at second per international tie-breaker rules. However, BSU would score no more, dropping the contest 7-5.
Nicole Steinbach suffered the loss for Ball State, falling to 3-4 on the year. Over 8.0 innings of work, she allowed 11 hits and seven runs (five earned), while striking out five batters.
Victoria Brown pitched the final 3.1 innings for JU, allowing just four hits and two runs (one earned) over the span to improve to 6-1 on the year. Cecile Gomez started in the circle for Jacksonville, allowing six hits and three earned runs over 4.2 innings.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Tuesday, with a 5 p.m. doubleheader at Florida International.