MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State softball team improved to 8-0 in Mid-American Conference action with a 10-4 win over Western Michigan Sunday afternoon at the BSU Softball Complex.
With a slim 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cardinals offense exploded for five runs in the frame to take control of the game. Ball State is now 23-11 (8-0 MAC) on the year, while the Broncos fall to 11-20 (2-4 MAC).
Junior first baseman Taylor Rager led BSU at the plate, going 3-for-4 on the day. Rager would cap the scoring with her sixth home run of the season, and the 22nd of her career, in the bottom of the sixth, while adding a single and a double earlier in the game.
Junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert went 2-for-4 on the day, including a two-run double and a RBI single to lead the Cardinals with three RBI.
Overall, the Cardinals blasted 12 hits in the victory with eight of BSU’s nine starters recorded at least one hit, while all nine players reached base.
In the circle, freshman hurler Kelsey Schifferdecker picked up her eighth win of the season, improving to 8-2, by limiting the WMU offense to just six hits and four runs (three earned) over 4.1 innings of work. She also tallied three strikeouts.
Redshirt junior pitcher Audra Sanders picked up her first save of the season, entering the game with the score 5-4 and the tying run at second with one out in the top of the fifth. She would strikeout the final two batters of the inning and hold WMU hitless the rest of the game. She finished the contest with three strikeouts.
The Cardinals opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a two-out RBI single from senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter. Sophomore designated player Hanne Stuedemann scored on the play after reaching base on a WMU error, advancing to second on a wild pitch and moving to third when Rager legged-out an infield single.
Western Michigan took its first lead of the weekend series with a two-run fourth inning, only to see Ball State retaliate with four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.
Bickel opened the inning with a single just out of the WMU shortstop’s reach and advanced to second on a groundout. Junior Julie Cortez would replace Bickel at second as a pinch runner, and come around to score the tying run when freshman shortstop Selena Reyna singled up the middle.
Reyna would advance to third when the WMU center fielder misplayed the ball, setting up a go-ahead RBI single from sophomore right fielder Loren Cihlar. A single from sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox would give BSU runners at first and second, and Gilbert would capitalize one out later with a two-run double off the left-center field wall.
Trailing 5-2, WMU tallied two quick runs in the top of the fifth after a single and an error set up a two-run double from Diana Patterson. However, with a runner at second and one out, Sanders came in and took control of the game by fanning the next two batters.
The score remained 5-4 until the bottom of the sixth when the Ball State offense exploded for five more runs to make the score 10-4. Reyna walked to open the inning and advanced to third on a WMU throwing error on a Cihlar fielder’s choice. Both Reyna and Cihlar, who advanced to second on the error, scored on the next play, an RBI single from junior pinch hitter Lauren Schroeder.
Reyna scored cleanly on the play, while Cihlar advanced to third and scored when the WMU left fielder misplayed the ball. Cox would reenter the game at second base and score one out later on a RBI single up the middle from Gilbert. Rager would then cap the scoring in the game with a two-run rocket shot over the left field wall which also scored freshman pinch runner Briana Evans.
Allyson Kus suffered the pitching loss for Western Michigan, falling to 3-6 on the year after allowing 12 hits and 10 runs (eight earned) over 6.0 innings of work. She would strikeout one BSU batter, while also issuing the game’s only walk.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Tuesday, when it hosts Butler in a rescheduled 4 p.m. first pitch at the BSU Softball Complex.