ATHENS, Ohio - - The Ball State softball team blasted a pair of three-run homers to end the weekend with an 8-4 win over Ohio Sunday afternoon at the Ohio Softball Field.
With their ninth-straight win, the Cardinals remain perfect in Mid-American Conference play at 12-0 and improve to 28-11 overall this season. The Bobcats, losers of seven straight, drop to 19-20 (4-8 MAC).
Sophomore designated player Hanne Stuedemann launched the first three-run blast of the game, giving Ball State a 4-2 lead in the fifth, while sophomore shortstop Selena Reyna added a three-run shot of her own in the top of the seventh to put BSU ahead 8-2.
Overall, the Cardinals pounded out 11 hits in the game, with sophomore right fielder Loren Cihlar leading the way with a 3-for-4 effort. Her first hit was a double to the left field wall, while she followed with a bunt single just inches off the plate.
In the circle, freshman Kelsey Schifferdecker threw her third complete game of the season to improve to 10-2 on the year. In going the distance, Schifferdecker limited the Bobcats to six hits and four runs (three earned), while striking out three batters.
On defense, senior catcher Sadie Robertson came up with a pair of clutch throws, picking off a runner at first in the second inning, while ending an Ohio rally in the fifth by nailing down a runner trying to steal second.
After two scoreless innings, the Cardinals opened the scoring in the top of the third thanks to a sacrifice fly from junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert. Cihlar led off the inning with her double to left, blasting the ball past a pulled in Ohio defense. Cihlar would move to third on a single from sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox, before scoring on Gilbert’s fly to right.
Ohio answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to take a brief 2-1 edge, however, the Cardinals countered with a three-run fifth and never looked back.
Reyna led off the fifth with a walk and advanced to second when Cihlar dropped a bunt single right in front of the Ohio catcher. Following a fielder’s choice from Cox which put runners at the corners, Stuedemann belted her sixth home run of the season to give Ball State the lead for good.
Ball State extended its lead to 5-2 in the top of the sixth when freshman pinch runner Briana Evans scored on a two-out Ohio error.
Reyna would put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh with her third career home run, a three-run rocket shot over the center field wall. With one out, senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter reached base on an infield single, while sophomore pinch hitter Jessica Craft followed with a single to left. One out later, Reyna deposited the ball over the center field fence to make the score 8-2.
Ohio would tally a pair of meaningless runs in the bottom of the frame on a two-run homer from Chelsea Hortman to give the game its final score of 8-4.
Lauren McClary suffered the pitching lose for Ohio, dropping to 8-11 on the season after surrendering four runs and five hits over the first 4.1 innings.The Ball State softball team returns to action Wednesday, when it travels to Ohio State for a 6 p.m. showdown under the lights at Buckeye Field.