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Kristy Stratton
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SB Hosts Kent State, Buffalo in MAC Home Opener
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MUNCIE, Ind. - Ball State Softball revisits Mid-American Conference play this weekend as the team hosts Kent State and Buffalo at the BSU Softball Complex in its league home opener.

BSU enters weekend play with a 27-17 overall record and 7-3 tally in league play after falling to in-state rival Indiana in a midweek contest in Bloomington, Ind. Ball State starts with a twin bill Friday versus Kent State at 1 p.m., followed by games versus Buffalo Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

LAST TIME OUT: The Hoosiers shut out the Cardinals, 3-0, Wednesday afternoon at the IU Softball Field as Indiana limited Ball State to a .087 batting average.

Freshman designated hitter Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) went 1-for-2 at the plate, while sophomore catcher Sadie Robertson (Fenton, Mo./Rockwood Summit) went 1-for-3, both tallying a stolen base.

Sophomore pitcher Audra Sanders (Lynnville, Ind./Tecumseh) recorded the loss on the mound after 5.1 innings of work, giving up three runs, allowing eight hits and walking one batter, falling to 14-10 on the season.

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: As a team, Ball State owns a .319 batting average, while its opponents are batting .266, in addition to scoring 228 runs (5.2 runs/game), while allowing 155 runs (3.5 runs/game).

Senior right fielder Alyssa Collins (Fortville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) continues to lead to lead the Cardinals at the plate with a .389 batting average, in addition to six doubles, one triple and 18 RBI, while Barkley ranks second on the squad with a .382 batting average with seven doubles, two triples, one home run, 12 RBI and a team-high 17 stolen bases.

From the circle, junior Kim Mazzapica (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) has made 20 appearances with a 2.42 ERA in 60.2 innings of work, while Sanders has made 27 appearances and owns a 2.81 ERA in 149.1 innings of work. Junior Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz./Wickenburg) owns a 4.234 ERA in 71.0 innings pitched with 18 appearances, good for an 8-6 record on the season.

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN FLASHES: The matchup marks the 70th and 71st time Ball State and Kent State will meet, as the Golden Flashes own the 44-25 series advantage. The two squads last met during the 2010 season four times, as Kent State swept Ball State in Kent, Ohio by scores of 3-2 and 6-5.

However at the MAC Tournament in Akron, Ohio, the Cardinals defeated their co-league champions twice by scores of 6-0 and 5-1 to claim the MAC Tournament title for the first time since 1998, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA regional in Knoxville, Tenn.

Kent State owns a 16-21 overall record and a 6-2 mark in league play after falling to Penn State twice Wednesday, April 13 in University Park, Penn. Senior Beth Cinadr from Hudson, Ohio leads the Golden Flashes at the plate, batting .385 with 14 doubles, one home run and 21 RBI. From the circle, Freshman Lauren McNeil, a native of Akron, Ohio, has made 18 appearances and owns an 18-14 record on the season with a 3.81 ERA in 90.0 innings of work.

SCOUTING THE BULLS: The weekend contests stand as the 13th and 14th meetings between Ball State and Buffalo, as the Cardinals own the 9-3 series advantage. The teams last met during the 2010 season on three occasions. Ball State swept its opponent by scores of 3-2 and 8-3 in Buffalo, N.Y. and the Cardinals shut out the Bulls, 7-0, in their opening-contest of the MAC tournament.

Buffalo owns a 9-26 overall record and 4-4 mark in league play after falling to Canisius Tuesday in Buffalo, N.Y., 6-2. Sophomore Alyssa Ward, a native of Cameron Park, Calif., is batting 29-for-93, with four doubles, one home run and seven RBI for a team-high .387 slugging percentage. From the circle, Freshman Tori Speckman from Alvin, Texas has made 27 appearances with a 3.37 ERA in 101.2 innings of work.

BALL STATE'S STANDINGS IN THE MAC:

Individual Stats (Top 5)

 

Individual Batting:

Collins: 4th, .397

Individual Pitching:

Mazzapica: 5th, 2.45

Hits:

Barkley, Collins: T-1st, 58 (1.35 H/G)

Runs Scored:

Barkley: 1st, 40 (.93 R/G)

 

Lisa Rozanski: T-3rd, 29 (.67 R/G)

Home Runs:

Montalto: T-2nd, 9 (.21 HR/G)

Doubles:

Gilbert: T-3rd, 12 (.28 2B/G)

 

Amanda Carpenter, Amanda Montalto: T-5th, 10 (.24 2B/G)

Triples:

Barkley: T-2nd, 2 (.05 3B/G)

Runs Batted In:

Gilbert: 1st, 40 (.93 RBI/G)

 

Rager: T-2nd, 33 RBI/G)

Stolen Bases:

Barkley: T-3rd, 17 (.40 SB/G)

Total Bases:

Gilbert: 1st, 84 (1.95 TB/G)

 

Barkley: 4th, 72 TB/G)

Walks:

Lisa Rozanski: 3rd, 21 (BB/G)

 

Kate Wilczynski: T-4th, 20 (BB/G)

Slugging Percentage:

Montalto: 2nd, .250

Wins:

Sanders: 2nd, 14-9

Innings Pitched:

Sanders: 2nd, 144.0 (5.54 IP/G)

Strikeouts:

Sanders: 3rd, 110 (5.35 SO/G)

Appearances:

Sanders: T-4th, 26

Saves:

Mazzapica: T-2nd, 2

Games Started:

Sanders: 22

Complete Games:

Sanders: 16

   

Team Stats (Top 3)

 

Batting Average:

1st, .323

Slugging Percentage:

3rd, .457

On Base Percentage:

2nd, .399

Runs Scored:

1st, 228

Hits:

1st, 380

Runs Batted In:

1st, 205

Doubles:

T-1st, 69

Triples:

T-2nd, 5

Home Runs:

T-3rd, 26

Total Bases:

1st, 537

Total Plate Appearances:

1st, 1348

At Bats:

1st, 1176

Walks:

1st, 137

Strikeouts:

3rd, 196

Sac Flies:

1st, 9

Stolen Bases:

2nd, 72

Steal Attempts:

2nd, 87

Grounded Into DP:

T-1st, 4

Innings Pitched:

1st, 276.0

Batters SO Out Looking:

3rd, 63

Wins:

1st, 27

Saves:

T-3rd, 3

Sac Bunts Allowed:

2nd, 31

Sac Flies Allowed:

T-3rd, 8

Triples Allowed:

T-3rd, 4

Hit Batters: 

3rd, 25

Fielding Percentage:

1st, .972

Chances:

1st, 1141

Putouts:

1st, 828

Fielding Double Plays:

T-2nd, 8

Passed Balls:

2nd, 14

 

MONTALTO CLAIMS MAC HONORS: Montalto has earned Mid-American Conference West Division Co-Player of the Week honors, the league office announced Tuesday, for the third time in her career and second occurrence on the season. Montalto had an absolutely astounding week for Ball State as she hit 6-for-12 and recorded an amazing 1.250 on base percentage, including three home runs and eight RBI against Wright State and Central Michigan.

She previously collected the accolade March 22 after earning MVP honors during the Radford Invitational. During the three-day event, the physical education major batted .500, recorded four runs, seven RBI, one double, one triple, two home runs and an astonishing 1.250 slugging percentage.

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOK: With 20 bombs and nine on the season, Montalto sits at first place in the Ball State record book, just one over former Cardinal Abby Gross' (2005-08) career record of 19 career home runs, also breaking her 2010 single season total of eight.

TERRIFIC FRESHMAN: Gilbert is continuing a phenomenal start to her collegiate career, as the freshman is 47-for-145 with 28 runs scored since the start of the season, including eight home runs and a grand slam. Also making a standout impact at the plate, freshman first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) owns a .354 batting average with seven doubles and four home runs, including one grand slam recorded at Ohio, and 33 RBI.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Ball State has traveled a total of approximately 5,950 miles so far this season after visiting Clarksville, Tenn. for the Austin Peay Tournament and a round-trip total of 718 miles, in addition to the 1,149 mile venture to Woodstock, Ga. for the Phyllis Rafter Memorial and back.

The cruise to the Under Armour Invitational and Under Armour Showcase racked up approximately 2,138 miles round trip, in addition to a 211.5 mile pit-stop to Orlando in-between. Then, a voyage over to Troutville, Va. for the Radford Tournament added another 933 miles and the excursion to Oxford, Ohio for the Miami Tournament added 150 miles, before Ball State started MAC play in Athens, Ohio and Akron, Ohio, adding an additional 650 miles to the squad's tally.

CARDINALS ADD FIVE: Ball State head coach Craig Nicholson announced that five student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to join the Ball State softball program for the 2012 season. Loren Cihar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North), Taylor Cox (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica), Jessica Craft (LaPorte, Ind./LaPorte), Haley Smith (Baytown, Texas/Lee) and Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) will be joining the returning Cardinals next season.

CARDINALS PICKED FIRST IN MAC WEST: Ball State was picked to finish first in the MAC West Division in the preseason coaches' poll, followed by Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Toledo. In the East Division, Miami was selected to win, followed by Ohio, Kent State, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Akron. The RedHawks were also predicted to win the 2011 MAC tournament title.

Live stats will be provided for all games on BallStateSports.com and updates can be found by following @BallStSoftball on Twitter.

COMING UP FOR THE CARDINALS: The Ball State softball team continues MAC action when it travels to Toledo Friday, April 29. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.

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