MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State softball team continued its hot hitting Wednesday afternoon, pounding out 15 total hits in a 12-4, six-inning victory over in-state rival Indiana at the BSU Softball Complex.
With nine Cardinals (28-12) recording at least one hit against the Hoosiers (21-21), the biggest blast came from senior catcher Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) who tallied her 10th home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth to give BSU a season-season program record 45 home runs this year.
The three-run blast also upped Montalto's program record home run total to 33 and her program-best RBI total to 139.
Junior outfielder Hannah Zimmerman (Indianapolis, Ind./Scecina Memorial) would make the most of her one at bat in the game, with a walk-off infield RBI single to second which allowed the Cardinals to end the game with an eight-run lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Freshman designated player Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) and sophomore left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) would record two hits apiece in the contest, to extend their current streak of reaching base to 31 and 23 games, respectively. Stuedemann also finished the game with three RBI and a run scored, while Gilbert scored one run.
Rounding out BSU's top performers on the day were sophomore first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) and senior shortstop Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College). Rager went 3-for-3 in the game with two doubles and a walk, while Mercado went 2-for-2 with two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored.
Senior pitcher Kim Mazzapica (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) also turned in a strong outing in the circle, improving her league-high win total to 17 games and her overall record to 17-3. In four innings of work, Mazzapica surrendered just six hits and three runs (two earned) to the Hoosiers, while striking out a pair of batters.
In two innings of relief, senior pitcher Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz./Yavapai College) struck out four IU batters, while allowing just two hits and one run.
After each side was retired in order in the first, the Hoosiers opened the scoring in the second thanks to a two-run homer from Cassie Gogreve.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning and went on to score five runs. Rager opened the frame with a double, and after sophomore third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) was hit by a pitch, was replaced by pinch runner Julie Cortez (Colorado Springs, Colo./Chaparrel). After a single to load the bases from junior center fielder Amanda Carpenter (Santee, Calif./Santana), a single from freshman second baseman Taylor Cox (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica) drove in the first run.
Mercado would follow with a two-run double to right field, while a two-run single up the middle from Stuedemann gave BSU a lead it would not relinquish.
IU would get one run back in the top of the third, when Jenna Abraham opened the inning with a double and later scored on a BSU error on a groundout.
However, Ball State responded with a six-run fifth inning to go up 11-3. Cox singled to open the inning, and was driven home by Mercado's second double of the game. A RBI single from Stuedemann drove in the second run, while a single from Gilbert set up Montalto's record-setting three-run blast to dead center field.
Pinch runner Haley Smith (Baytown, Texas/Lee), who entered the game when Bickel reached on a fielder's choice, would score the final run of the inning thanks to a stolen base, a groundout to advance her to third and a RBI single from freshman right fielder Loren Cihlar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East).
The Hoosiers would stay alive at 11-4 with a single run in the fifth, thanks to an RBI single from Shelby Gogreve.
However, Zimmerman would end the game in the bottom of the sixth with her two-out RBI infield single. Rager scored on the play after recording her second leadoff double of the game.
Meaghan Murphy suffered the loss for the Hoosiers, falling to 8-9 on the year after allowing eight runs on eight hits over 3.0 innings. She would strikeout four Cardinals.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Friday, when it hosts Eastern Michigan in a 1 p.m. Mid-American Conference doubleheader at the BSU Softball Complex. The games will be covered live by Ball State Sports Link.