INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - - The Ball State softball team picked up a 4-2 win over Butler on a cold, blustery Wednesday afternoon at the Butler Softball Field.
With the wind blowing straight in at over 20 MPH all afternoon, the Cardinals (15-9) found a way to get the bats going in the late innings to secure the win the Bulldogs (8-17).
The Cardinals collected five of their seven hits, and all four runs, in the final two innings. Of Ball State’s seven hits, two were doubles and two were triples.
In the circle, sophomore Nicole Steinbach (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) shined in her first outing in over a week, limiting Butler to two hits over her six innings of work. She also logged four strikeouts in the game, while improving to 5-4 on the year.
While the wind limited the Cardinals sluggers’ ability to blast the long ball, senior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) and sophomore second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam) each collected triples in the game. Gilbert also added a RBI double to raise her career total to 54, which is tops among all active NCAA Division I players.
Senior first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) also doubled in the contest, giving her a league-leading 13 on the season and raising her career total to 51 which is third among all active NCAA Division I players.
After five scoreless innings, the Cardinals finally broke onto the scoreboard in the top of the sixth thanks to a one-out rally starting when Dabkowski reached base on an error. Gilbert followed with a RBI double to the left field wall, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
The rally was not over, however, as Rager followed with a RBI double of her own to center field. Senior third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) capped the rally with a RBI bloop single just in front of the Butler right fielder to move the score to 3-0.
Dabkowski extended Ball State’s lead to 4-0 with two outs in the top of the seventh thanks to a RBI triple to right field. Sophomore center fielder Briana Evans (Tulsa, Okla./Union) scored on the triple after reaching first on a fielder’s choice one play earlier.
Butler would get its two runs in the bottom of the seventh with a one-out, two run home run from Kristen Boros. Freshman relief pitcher Jocelyn Rivera (Brooklyn, Ohio/Brooklyn) would recover from the blast by forcing a fly out and then strikeout the final batter of the game.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Friday, when it opens play in the Mizzou Tournament with games versus North Dakota State (1 pm ET / Noon CT) and tournament host No. 18 Missouri (5:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm CT).