MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State softball team started off a busy week with a pinch hit walk-off grand slam by junior Lauren Schroeder for an 11-2 (5 inn.) victory over Butler Tuesday afternoon at the BSU Softball Complex.
The Cardinals, winners of 13 out of their last 14 games, improve to 24-11 on the season with the victory. The Bulldogs drop to 12-18 with the loss.
Overall, Ball State’s sluggers blasted five home runs in the win with junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert connecting for a pair of two-run blasts and senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter adding a pair of solo bombs.
With her two home runs, Gilbert raised her career total to 48 which ties her for second in Mid-American Conference history. She also upped her career RBI total to 161 which is six shy of the league record.
Carpenter’s two home runs raised her career total to 21 which is fourth in program history, while her 141 career RBI are third.
Freshman pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker earned the victory in the circle, improving to 9-2 on the season by limiting Butler to just four hits and a pair of runs over 4.0 innings of work. She also struck out a pair of batters.
Redshirt junior Audra Sanders pitched the final inning for the Cardinals, retiring all three batters she faced including a strikeout.
BSU’s first two runs came in the bottom of the first inning after a leadoff single by sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox was followed by a one-out two-run home run from Gilbert. Cox finished the game 3-for-3 and scored twice.
Sophomore right fielder Hanne Stuedemann gave BSU a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning with a RBI single up the middle. Sophomore catcher Jessica Craft scored on the play after being hit by a pitch and advancing to second on a Cox one-out single.
Carpenter extended the Cardinals’ lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third with her first home run of the game, a one-out solo shot to left-center field.
The Bulldogs scored two runs in the top of the fourth, cutting the BSU lead to 4-2, on a two-out single from Audrey East which was followed by RBI doubles from Maria Leichty and Krista Hakola.
However, Gilbert would give Ball State its four-run edge back in the bottom of the inning with her second two-run shot of the day which also drove in Cox who singled with one out.
Carpenter led off the fifth inning with her second home run to give BSU a 7-2 edge. After a walk to freshman third baseman Emily Dabkowski led to a Butler pitching change, a walk to freshman shortstop Selena Reyna and another hit-by-pitch on Craft loaded the bases.
In another clutch pinch hitting performance, Schroeder would then launch the first pitch she saw deep over the center field wall for the walk-off victory.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Wednesday with a scheduled 3 p.m. doubleheader at in-state rival Purdue. The games will be broadcast live on Sports Link Radio WCRD 91.3 FM and online at BallStateSports.com.