MUNCIE, Ind. - - In its first-ever televised home games, the Ball State softball team used seven home runs, including two grand slams, to post a dominating doubleheader sweep of Eastern Michigan Friday afternoon at the BSU Softball Complex.
Ball State Sports Link covered both games live, with the broadcast going out state wide on Comcast Indiana, as well as locally on Comcast Muncie.
The Cardinals opened the day with a 10-7 victory, and followed with a 9-5 win in the nightcap to improve to 30-12 (8-2 Mid-American Conference). The Eagles fall to 19-26 (5-9 MAC) with the losses.
Of the Cardinals' seven home runs, two came from senior designated player Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) and two more from sophomore left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney). Gilberts' two blasts improved her league-leading total to 13 this season, while Montalto's two shots leave her one behind at 12.
In the first-game victory, freshman right fielder Hanne Stuedemann (Mattawan, Mich./Mattawan) blasted her first career grand slam, while junior center fielder Amanda Carpenter (Santee, Calif./Santana) belted her first career grand slam in the second contest.
BSU's final homer of the day came from the bat of sophomore first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) who hit a solo shot in the first game. With the seven long balls, the Cardinals have now improved their single-season school record total to 52
The Cardinals continued their overall hitting domination in the twinbill, posting a .364 batting average over the two games, with 11 of the 20 hits being multi-base knocks.
Senior shortstop Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College) led BSU at the plate with a .571 (4-for-7) average, while three Cardinals hit .500.
In the circle, senior pitcher Kim Mazzapica (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) picked up her league-leading 18th win of the season in the first game, while senior pitcher Audrey Workman (Wickenburg, Ariz./Yavapai College) won the second contest after coming in and picking up a save in the opener.
Workman would strikeout a season-high 10 Eagles in the second game, after fanning one of the two batters she faced in earning the save in the opener.
The Ball State softball team returns to action Saturday, when it opens a two-game series versus Central Michigan with a 2 p.m. first pitch at the BSU Softball Complex. The game will once again be broadcast live by Ball State Sports Link and can be seen for free online at http://www.BallStateSports.com/liveevents.
Comcast Muncie and Comcast Indiana will also carry the game live, so check your local listings for availability in your area.
GAME 1 RECAP: Ball State 10 - Eastern Michigan 7
After a scoreless first inning, the Eagles tallied the first runs of the game in the top of the second, thanks to an Amanda Herron sacrifice fly and a RBI single from Jenn Lewis.
Ball State responded with a six runs in the bottom of the frame to take control of the contest. A Rager single and a double from sophomore third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) set up a sacrifice fly from Carpenter for BSU's first run. After a wild pitch pushed Rager to third, an infield single and stolen base from Mercado put runners at second and third.
EMU looked to have slowed down BSU's offense with a fielder's choice from freshman second baseman Taylor Cox (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica) led to the second out of the inning at home, but junior catcher Sadie Robertson (Fenton, Mo./Rockwood Summit) drew a walk to load the bases. With two outs and bases juiced, Stuedemann delivered her first career grand slam to left-center field. Gilbert followed with a solo shot to give BSU the 6-2 advantage.
Ball State extended its lead to 7-2 in the bottom of the third thanks to a leadoff solo shot from Rager.
The Cardinals manufactured their eighth run of the contest in the bottom of the fifth thanks to an EMU error which allowed pinch runner Haley Smith (Baytown, Texas/Lee) to score from second on a Carpenter single.
Eastern Michigan would make the game close in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs to cut the BSU advantage to 8-6. Three of the runs came on homer from Courtney Nicholson.
Ball State would get two of the runs back in the bottom of the frame, on a clutch one-out, two-run double from Montalto. Robertson and Gilbert both walked to set up Montalto's two-run double.
EMU would add a final run in the top of the seventh on a RBI double from McKenna Russ, making the final score 10-7.
Mazzapica earned her league-leading 18th win of the season by allowing seven runs on 10 hits over 6.1 innings of work. Workman picked up her third save by recording the game's final two outs, including a strikeout.
Jenna Ignowski suffered the loss in the contest, falling to 10-7 by allowing six runs on five hits over 1.2 innings of work.
GAME 2 RECAP: Ball State 9 - Eastern Michigan 5
The Cardinals continued where they left off in the start of the second game, as Carpenter's first career grand slam gave BSU a 4-0 advantage after the first inning. Gilbert, Montalto, and Bickel all scored on the play after reaching base on a walk, single and walk, respectively.
A Gilbert two-run shot in the bottom of the second would extend the lead to 6-0, as she also plated Robertson who drew a walk to open the frame.
EMU would cut the lead in half with three runs in the top of the third, including an RBI infield single from Katy Blaharski, and a two-run BSU error.
Montalto extended the lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth thanks to her first of two home runs in the game.
EMU loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth, but only managed to score one run on a Nicholson fielder's choice.
Montalto then delivered her second home run of the game to lead off the bottom of the sixth, while a RBI double from Mercado pushed across BSU's final run of the game.
A double from EMU's Blaharski and a BSU error allowed the guests to score one run in the top of the seventh, but Workman would strikeout the other three batters she face in the frame to end the game.
Workman, who improves to 12-9 with the victory, struck out a season-high 10 batters in the contest, while allowing just one earned run and five hits over seven innings.
Lauren Wells (4-11) picked up the loss for EMU by allowing six runs on four hits over 1.1 innings of work.