SAN MARCOS, Texas - - The Ball State softball team opened the second day of the CenturyLink Classic with a thrilling 5-4 win over Southern Illinois Sunday afternoon at Texas State’s Bobcat Softball Stadium.
Ball State's game versus Stephen F. Austin was called with one out in the top of fifth due to a 1:15 "drop dead" time. Score was 9-7 in favor of SFA when the game was called, but it will not count as an official game.
With the score tied at 4-4 and runners on the corners with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, sophomore second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam) capped the Cardinals comeback by scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
Southern Illinois opened the scoring in the top of the third, as a Ball State error with the bases loaded allowed a pair of runs to score.
The Cardinals recovered in the bottom half of the frame, scoring two of their own to tie the score at 2-2. The inning started with three consecutive singles from sophomore shortstop Selena Reyna (Houston, Texas/South Houston), sophomore center fielder Briana Evans (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and junior right fielder Loren Cihlar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North).
Two batters later, senior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) would draw a bases-loaded walk to push across the first run. Senior first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
The Salukis would go on to score single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to pull ahead 4-2.
Ball State rallied back in the bottom of the inning, starting with a leadoff homer from Rager. Senior third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) followed with a double off the right field wall, just missing a game-tying homer.
With freshman pinch runner Amanda Arnett (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) at second, junior designated player Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) sliced a single to center. On the throw home to stop the runner at third, Stuedemann took off for second, leading to a throwing error from the SIU catcher which allowed Arnett to cruise home.
The Cardinals would go on to load the bases with one out, however a fielder’s choice and a runner left early on the same play ended the BSU rally.
After sophomore pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker (Belton, Mo./Belton) shut down the Salukis in the top of the seventh, the Cardinals rallied once again in the bottom of the frame.
Dabkowski led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to third on a two-out single from Bickel. Then a wild pick would allow Dabkowski to cross the plate for the game-winning run.
Schifferdecker earned the win in the contest, throwing the final 3.2 innings and limiting SIU to just one hit and one earned run. She also struck out one batter.
Sophomore Nicole Steinbach (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) started the game in the circle for Ball State, allowing three runs (one earned) and four hits over 3.1 innings. She would strikeout one batter.Taylor Orsburn suffered the pitching loss for Southern Illinois, falling to 0-1 after allowing the game-winning run to score on a wild pitch. Over 1.2 innings she surrendered three hits and one run, while walking two and striking out two.