BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Ball State softball team blasted three home runs in a Mid-American Conference record-setting 13-0, five-inning victory over Buffalo Sunday afternoon at Nan Harvey Field.
Senior designate player Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) provided the record-setting moment for the Cardinals with two outs in the top of the third, when she deposited her 14th home run of the season over the center field fence to give BSU its league-record 60th home run of the season.
Sophomore Lauren Schroeder (Greenfield, Ind./New Palestine) added her second pinch hit home run in as many games, while freshman right fielder Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) launched her fifth long ball of the season over the UB scoreboard to up Ball State's league-record total to 62 for the year.
In the circle, senior pitcher Audrey Workman (Wickenberg, Ariz./Yavapai College) earned her fifth complete game shutout of the season, improving to 14-10 by limiting the Bulls to just four hits over five innings of work. She would also strikeout three batters in the game.
With the win, the Cardinals run their record to 35-13 (13-3 MAC) and maintain their lead over Bowling Green for first place in the overall MAC standings. Buffalo drops to 14-27 (4-13 MAC) with the loss.
In addition to her home run, Stuedemann led the Ball State offense by going 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored, while also drawing a walk. Montalto and junior center fielder Amanda Carpenter (Santee, Calif./Santana) each tallied two hits, with Montalto driving in a team-best three RBI.
With two outs in the top of the third, Stuedemann drew a six-pitch walk to spark a BSU rally. Sophomore left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) followed with her league-leading 18th double of the season to drive in Stuedemann from first. Montalto then added her two-run blast to center to give Ball State the MAC record for home runs in a season.
The Cardinals tacked on four more runs in the top of the fourth thanks in part to two more homers. With one out, Carpenter tripled to right field and came around to score on a fielder's choice sacrifice bunt from senior shortstop Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College).
Schroeder would follow with her second pinch hit home run in as many games, while two batters later Stuedemann added her fifth career four-bagger to move the score to 7-0.
The Cardinals added six more runs in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 13-0. Montalto and sophomore first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) drew walks to open the inning, while a single from sophomore third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) drove in the first run.
Sophomore pinch runner Julie Cortez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Chaparrel) scored the next run when Carpenter reached on a fielder's choice on an attempted play at the plate. After a second fielder's choice by Mercado led to the first out at third, an infield single from Taylor Cox (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica) loaded the bases, while a walk to junior catcher Sadie Robertson (Fenton, Mo./Rockwood Summit) made the score 10-0.
Stuedemann added a RBI single to left field to plate BSU's fourth run of the frame, while a Montalto single and an error on the play allowed the final two runs to score.
Buffalo's Holly Johnson (3-13) picked up the loss in the contest, allowing seven runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings of work. Haylee Land pitched the final 1.1 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits.
The Ball State softball team concludes the 2012 regular season next weekend when its hosts Toledo (Friday) and Bowling Green (Saturday and Sunday).