CONWAY, Ark. - - The Ball State softball team continued its hot hitting Saturday afternoon, recording a 14-0 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to cap the second day of the UCA Tournament hosted by Central Arkansas at Farris Field.
With the victory, the Cardinals improve to 6-2 overall and are now 3-1 in the 2013 UCA Softball Tournament. Arkansas-Pine Bluff falls to 0-6 with the loss.
Topping the list of offensive highlights for Ball State was freshman shortstop Selena Reyna's first career home run, a grand slam in the bottom of the third inning. Reyna finished the game with a team-high five RBI and a run scored.
Freshman pinch runner/third baseman Emily Dabkowski tallied her first collegiate hit in the victory, dropping an RBI double in front of the Golden Lions left fielder. She also scored a team-high three runs.
In all, nine different Cardinals recorded a hit in the contest, including junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert who went 1-for-1 with a walk and two runs scored. With the effort, Gilbert raised her season batting average to back to .739 (17-for-23), while her on base percentage climbed to .806.
In the circle, freshman Kelsey Schifferdecker improved to 3-0 on the year by holding UAPB to just two hits over 4.0 innings of work. She would also strikeout four batters while not issuing a walk.
Redshirt junior Lauren Williamson closed the game for Ball State, retiring the Golden Lions in order in the top of the fifth inning.
Defensively, sophomore Jessica Craft turned in a brilliant performance in her first career start at catcher for the Cardinals, helping guide the pitching staff to the shutout victory. She also went 1-for-1 at the plate with a pair of walks thrown in.
After Schifferdecker struck out two of the first three batters she faced in the top of the first, Gilbert got the offense rolling in the bottom half of the frame with a leadoff single to right. Sophomore designated player Hanne Stuedemann and junior third baseman Audrey Bickel would each draw a walk to load the bases before an illegal pitch brought in the game's first run.
After a strikeout, an RBI groundout from Reyna moved the score to 2-0 and put Bickel on third. BSU's final run came moments later on another UAPB illegal pitch.
The Cardinals added four more run in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 7-0. Freshman right fielder Briana Evans led off the inning with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an illegal pitch. Following a walk to Gilbert, Stuedemann sliced a single to right field to drive home Evans.
Gilbert would be brought home once again by an illegal pitch to give BSU its second run of the inning. Following a walk to Bickel, who was then replaced by Dabkowski, junior first baseman Lauren Schroeder would drive in Stuedemann with an RBI double. Dabkowski later scored the Cardinals' fourth run of the inning on yet another illegal pitch.
In BSU's five-run third inning, which moved the score to 12-0, Evans led off the frame with a walk and promptly stole second. Freshman left fielder Sammi Cowger followed by dropping an infield single in front of the UAPB first baseman to put runners at first and second for freshman designated player Sasha Margulies who singled down the right field line to drive home Evans.
Dabkowski would load the bases a second time for Ball State by reaching base on a Golden Lions' error. Two batters later, Reyna would deposit her first career home run over the left field wall to make the score 12-0.
Ball State closed out the scoring in the bottom of the fourth by adding two more markers. With one out, Cowger was hit by a pitch, advanced to second in an illegal pitch and was driven to third on a Margulies groundout. Dabkowski then dropped a double into left field to plate Cowger. A wild pitch and an illegal pitch would eventually bring home Dabkowski for the game's final run.
Heather Leigh (0-3) suffered the loss for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, surrendering nine hits and 14 runs (13 earned) over 4.0 innings. While she was able to strikeout two BSU hitters, she issued eight walks and threw eight illegal pitches.
The Ball State softball team concludes play in the 2013 UCA Tournament Sunday, with a 1 p.m. (CT) first pitch scheduled versus tournament host Central Arkansas.