MIAMI, Fla. - - The Ball State (8-8) softball team dropped both ends of a doubleheader at Florida International (14-9) Tuesday evening by scores of 6-4 and 4-2.
In the nightcap, junior slugger Jennifer Gilbert blasted her school-record 39th career home run, which also moves her to sole possession of fourth place in the Mid-American Conference record books. The current league record is 57 set by Akron's Kelli Metzger from 1996-99.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Thursday when it opens play in the FAU Invitational hosted by Florida Atlantic with a scheduled 11 a.m. first pitch versus Michigan State.
GAME 2 RECAP: Florida International 4 - Ball State 2
MIAMI, Fla. - - Despite junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert blasting her school-record 39th career home run, the Ball State softball team suffered a 4-2 setback to Florida International in the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader at the FIU Softball Complex.
Gilbert's record-setting home run came in the top of the fourth inning following a single from sophomore designated player Hanne Stuedemann. Gilbert deposited the ball deep over the right-center field wall to give Ball State a 2-0 edge in the contest.
Another interesting moment for the Cardinals came in the bottom of the frame when freshman pitcher Nicole Steinbach struck four straight batters out swinging after a wild pitch allowed the second batter to reach base.
Unfortunately, BSU would ultimately lose the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run single from Aleim Lopez and a pair of errors which helped bring in two more FIU runs and give the hosts a 4-2 advantage.
Ball State would get runners to second and third in the top of the seventh, thanks to a leadoff double from junior first baseman Taylor Rager and an infield single from senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter, but could not get the tying runs across the plate.
Despite limiting the Panthers to just six hits, four runs (two earned) and one walk over 6.0 innings of work, Steinbach picked up the loss to fall to 3-5 in the circle. She would strike out seven batters in the contest.
Cor Jenkins earned the win for FIU by limiting the Cardinals to seven hits and two runs over 7.0 innings. She struck out eight batters, while walking just one.
GAME 1 RECAP: Florida International 6 - Ball State 4
MIAMI, Fla. - - Sophomore right fielder Hanne Stuedemann gave Ball State (8-7) softball a quick 2-0 lead with her first home run of the season, but Florida International (13-9) rallied off six straight runs in a 6-4 victory in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday evening at the FIU Softball Complex.
Ball State would put together a two-out, two-run rally to cut the Panthers lead in half in the top of the seventh, but could not draw even, losing the game 6-4.
Rager and senior catcher Sadie Robertson would each collect a double, raising BSU's total to 35 so far this season.
On defense, the Cardinals also collected their 13th double play of the season, well ahead of the pace they set last season with an NCAA-leading 33 double plays.
After a leadoff walk to sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox on an illegal pitch, Stuedemann helped the Cardinals capitalize with a two-run blast over the center field fence for her first home run of the season.
FIU tied the score in the bottom of the second with the help of an error to open the inning. After Aleim Lopez reached on the error, Alex Casals logged an infield single to put runners at first and second. After a double steal, back-to-back groundouts to second plated the runners.
Florida International would take the lead in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI single from Brie Rojas.
The Panthers extended their lead to 6-2 with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two-out, two-run rally. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs, Lopez doubled off the left field wall to clear the base runners.
With two outs and no runners on base after an FIU pickoff of a BSU runner at second, senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter drew a walk and Robertson doubled to give BSU a pair of runners in scoring position.
Freshman shortstop Selena Reyna would follow with a two-run single down the right field line, cutting the FIU edge to 6-4. Unfortunately, a sharp shot by Cihlar was grabbed by the Panthers' center fielder to end the game.
Freshman pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker suffered her first loss of the season in the contest, falling to 4-1, after allowing seven hits and six runs (four earned) in 5.0 innings of work. Redshirt junior Audra Sanders came in to close the game, holding FIU to just a walk in the final inning. Both BSU pitchers struck out one batter.
Mari Dawson picked up the win in the circle for FIU, improving to 3-6 by holding the Cardinals to six hits and two earned runs in 5.2 innings of work. Shel Wagnon earned the save by entering the game with bases loaded and two outs in the top of the sixth. She would retire the only batter she faced in the sixth inning, before surrendering two runs, two hits and a pair of walks in the seventh.