WOODSTOCK, Ga. - - Freshman pitcher Nicole Steinbach threw a complete game shutout in her collegiate debut to lift the Ball State softball team to a 2-0 win over UT Martin in its second game of the KSU Classic Saturday afternoon.
After the Cardinals exploded for 15 runs and 13 hits in its season-opening 15-5 victory over IUPUI Saturday morning, Steinbach's strong performance in the circle allowed Ball State to complete its opening day sweep.
In seven innings of work, Steinbach scattered three hits and struck out five batters. She allowed just one base runner after the fourth inning, but was able to spark an inning-ending double play in the sixth to face the minimum nine batters over the final three frames.
At the plate, the Cardinals did not get their first hit until the bottom of the fourth inning when junior third baseman Audrey Bickel launched a solo home run down the right field line to score what proved to be the winning run.
Ball State added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an RBI single up the middle and off the UT Martin pitcher's glove from junior first baseman Taylor Rager. Junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert scored on the play after reaching base on a single to right field and advancing to third with the help of a pair of wild pitches.
Sophomore right fielder Hanne Stuedemann also collected a single to lead off the sixth.
Casey Vincent suffered the loss in the circle for UT Martin despite limiting Ball State's offense to just four hits and two earned runs. Vincent also managed to strikeout nine Cardinals in the game.
The Ball State softball team closes play in the 2013 KSU Classic hosted by Kennessaw State tomorrow with games versus Tennessee Tech (10:30 a.m.) and Eastern Kentucky (1 p.m.).