AUBURN, Ala. - - The Ball State softball team closed the opening day of the War Eagle Classic hosted by Auburn with a 7-4 win over Radford Friday afternoon at Jane B. Moore Field.
The Cardinals (14-7), who topped Alabama A&M 12-0 (5 inn.) earlier in the day, continue play in the three-day tournament Saturday with games versus No. 23/24 Auburn (6:30 pm ET/5:30 pm CT) and in-state rival IPFW (8:30 pm ET/7:30 pm CT).
Fans can listen to the games LIVE and FREE on BallStateSports.com with Torey Fox calling the action.
In the win over the Highlanders (4-13), senior first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) went 4-for-4 from the plate, including a pair of doubles. She finished the opening day of the War Eagle Classic going 7-for-7 with a walk, three doubles and a solo home run.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker (Belton, Mo./Belton) turned in a strong effort in the circle versus Radford, striking out a career-high eight batters on the way to improving to 7-1 on the year. Over seven innings of work, Schifferdecker limited the Highlanders to eight hits and four runs, only two of which were earned.
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Cardinals deposited three runs on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning. Sophomore center fielder Briana Evans (Tulsa, Okla./Union) led off the inning with a strikeout, but was able to reach first on a wild pitch. After Evans stole second, a single from junior right fielder Loren Cihlar (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) put runners on the corners.
Evans would come around to score the game’s first run on a throwing error by the Radford catcher, while Cihlar reach second on the error. A groundout from sophomore second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam) pushed Cihlar to third, setting up a RBI double from Rager.
Senior third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) followed with a RBI single to right center, driving in the third BSU run of the inning.
Radford would score single runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, cutting the Ball State advantage to 3-2.
However, the Cardinals rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth to regain control of the game. Cihlar and Dabkowski opened the inning with back-to-back singles, setting up a three-run blast off the scoreboard from senior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney). Rager followed the blast with a single, advanced to third on a Bickel double and eventually scored BSU’s final run of the game on a wild pitch.
Radford would post two more runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth, cutting the Ball State lead to 7-4. The Highlanders would threaten again in the bottom of the seventh, sending the tying run to the plate with two outs. However, after making an amazing diving grab for the second out of the inning, Cihlar would camp under a fly to end the game.