MUNCIE, Ind. - - Sophomore pitcher Nicole Steinbach (Merrillville, Ind./Andrean) held league-leading Ohio to two hits, while Ball State softball’s offense continued to roll in a 10-0 (5 inn.) victory at the BSU Softball Complex Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Cardinals improve to 26-16 (6-3 Mid-American Conference) entering tomorrow’s 1 pm Easter Sunday rematch with the Bobcats (25-18/10-3 MAC).
“I am really proud of the way we played today,” Ball State head coach Tyra Perry said. “That is Ball State softball. We turned in a solid effort on both sides of the ball, playing strong defense and coming up with timely hits throughout the game. Nicole was outstanding today. I thought she had a really gutsy performance on the mound. She was not feeling her best, but still made it work and shut down a very good Ohio team.”
In one of her strongest outings of the season, Steinbach kept Ohio’s batters at bay for most of the game, allowing just a pair of singles over five innings of work. She also struck out four batters, while not issuing a walk, to improve to 11-9 on the year.
On offense, the Cardinals pounded out nine total hits, including four doubles, two triples and a home run. Senior first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) collected two of the nine hits, with a RBI triple in the first and a leadoff double in the third.
After Steinbach retired the Bobcats in order in the top of the first, Ohio pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey struck out the first two batters she faced in the bottom of the frame. However, senior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) would not let the Cardinals fall in order, as she blasted a double off right-center field wall. Rager followed with a RBI triple to right field, driving in Gilbert for what proved to be the game-winning run.
However, Ball State’s offense was not done there, scoring nine more runs over the next three innings. In the second, sophomore shortstop Selena Reyna (Houston, Texas/South Houston) drew a one-out walk, while freshman catcher Shelbie Scamihorn (Terre Haute, Ind./South Vigo) was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, senior pinch hitter Lauren Schroeder (Greenfield, Ind./New Palestine) drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Sophomore second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam) followed with a bases-clearing double to push the Ball State edge to 4-0.
After Rager doubled to open the top of the third, sophomore designated player Sammi Cowger (Fenton, Mich./Fenton) came through with a one-out double to right-center to bring her home. Reyna then reached base on a Ohio error, while sophomore center fielder Briana Evans (Tulsa, Okla./Union) cleared the bases with a triple to center. Junior right fielder Loren Cihlar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) followed with a RBI single to right, upping the Ball State advantage to 8-0.
The Cardinals final two runs of the game came on a fourth inning two-run homer from senior third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean). Rager scored on the blast after drawing a one-out walk.For the most up-to-date news on Ball State softball, follow the team on Twitter: @BallStateSB and @TyraPerry13/ Instagram: ballstatesb / Facebook: BallStateSoftball