► THIS WEEK IN BALL STATE SOFTBALL: The Ball State softball team will play its final regular season road games and end non-conference play Wednesday, when it travels to Indiana for a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Andy Mohr Field ... The Cardinals will then open a 10-game homestand Friday with a 1 p.m. Mid-American Conference twinbill versus Akron ... Ball State closes the week with single games versus league-leading Ohio Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).
► FOLLOW THE ACTION: Ball State fans can follow this week’s action with live stats available at BallStateSports.com ... Indiana Radio will carry Wednesday’s doubleheader live and free at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/Indiana.portal ... WCRD 91.3 FM continues its coverage this weekend, with Torey Fox, Jake Bartelson and Alexis Williams calling the action live from the BSU Softball Complex for WCRD and BallStateSports.com ... Fans can also get regular updates by following the team on Twitter: @BallStateSB - Instagram: ballstatesb - Facebook: BallStateSoftball
► CARDINALS ALL-TIME: The Ball State softball program enters Wednesday’s doubleheader at Indiana with an 877-929-4 (.486) all-time record in 39-plus seasons of play ... Established as a varsity program in 1975, Ball State has won four Mid-American Conference regular season titles (2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013), two MAC Tournament championships (1998 and 2010) and advanced to the NCAA Tournament twice (1998 and 2010).
► IN THE MAC PART 1: The Ball State softball team is 359-377-1 (.488) all-time in Mid-American Conference action ... The Cardinals best two seasons, based on winning percentage, came in 2009 and 2013 when BSU went 18-3 (.857) ... BSU has claimed four (2009, 2010, 2012 & 2013) of the last five MAC Regular Season titles and won the 1998 and 2010 MAC Tournaments to earn the only two NCAA Regional berths in program history.
► IN THE MAC PART 2: From 2009 through last weekend’s MAC action, the Cardinals have proven to be one of the league’s premier programs by racking up an 87-24 (.784) record in league play ... Kent State has the second-best league record during the span at 71-41 (.634).
► HEAD COACH TYRA PERRY: A two-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year (2009 & 2013), Tyra Perry was named the eighth head coach in Ball State softball history Aug. 6, 2013 ... Perry enters Wednesday doubleheader at Indiana with a 365-358-1 (.505) career record, including a 23-14 ledger so far in her first season at Ball State ... Perry’s biggest win to date with the Cardinals was a 3-0 victory at then-No. 3 Arizona State (March 2) ... Prior to coming to Ball State, Perry had six-year head coaching stints at both Western Kentucky (2008-13) and Birmingham-Southern (2002-07) ... In 2013, Perry guided WKU to the program’s first-ever NCAA Regional appearance and to a final ranking of 26th in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the highest final ranking in program history ... The Lady Toppers also posted the program’s first 40-plus win season (43-18) under Perry’s tutelage in 2013, and earned its first SBC regular season title with a 20-3 league record.
► SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: Ball State enters Wednesday’s twinbill at Indiana with a 23-14 overall record after posting a 4-1 mark last week ... The Cardinals opened the week with a 6-5 win at Purdue Wednesday ... BSU split a Friday doubleheader at Northern Illinois, losing the first game 2-0 and winning the second 7-4, before sweeping a DH Saturday at Western Michigan by scores of 5-2 and 4-1 ... The Cardinals are the top batting team in the MAC with a .322 average, and also lead the league in hits (328), doubles (62) and home runs (42) ... BSU’s 114 multiple-base hits are 14 more than the next closest team, Central Michigan at 100 ... Individually, sophomore center fielder Briana Evans leads the league with a .409 batting average, while senior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert is second on the squad and in the MAC at .405 ... Gilbert also enters the week as the league leader in on base percentage (.407), slugging percentage (.973), runs scored (39), RBI (45), home runs (15) and total bases (108) ... In the circle, sophomore Kelsey Schifferdecker owns a 10-5 record and threw the Cardinals’ first complete game shutout of the season versus George Mason (Feb. 16) ... Schifferdecker has a team-leading 3.73 ERA over 97.2 innings of work and has struck out 52 batters.
► RPI UPDATE: Based on the strength of its 23-14 record entering the week, the Ball State softball team is ranked 70th in the latest NCAA RPI rankings released April 14 ... The Cardinals have played 18 games versus top 100 teams and own a 7-11 record in those games ... BSU’s average RPI loss this season is 62 ... Kent State is the highest-ranked MAC team at 48th, followed by Ball State.
► SCOUTING INDIANA (RPI - 190): The Hoosiers enter the week with a 12-29-1 overall record, including a 4-10 mark in Big Ten action ... Last week, IU split a Wednesday doubleheader versus Michigan State (L, 5-3 / W, 7-3) and lost two of three in a weekend series versus Penn State (L, 4-1 / L, 2-1 / W, 8-7 in 8 inn.) ... Breanna Saucedo leads Indiana with a .342 batting average and 24 runs scored ... Kassi Farmer is second on the squad with a .313 average and has a team-high 19 RBI ... The Hoosiers use a three-woman rotation in the circle, with Lora Olson leading the way with 100.0 innings of work ... Olson also has a team-best 4.34 ERA, a 4-13 record and 67 strikeouts on the year ... Indiana is batting .250 as a team, while allowing opponents to connect at a .319 clip ... IU has been out-scored 245-to-142 this season ... Ball State has won seven of the last 10 meetings between the two clubs, but still trails in the all-time series 38-30 ... Last season, the Cardinals spoiled Andy Mohr Field dedication night by posting a 5-2 victory over the Hoosiers April 23.
► SCOUTING AKRON (RPI - 151): The Zips enter Friday’s doubleheader with a 19-10 overall record, including a 5-3 mark in Mid-American Conference play ... Akron posted a 4-2 record last week, starting with a Tuesday doubleheader split versus Youngstown State (W, 8-2 / L, 8-7) ... The Zips also split a twinbill versus Bowling Green Friday (W, 4-1 / L, 4-1), before closing the weekend with a pair of wins over Toledo Saturday (4-3 in 8 inn.) and Sunday (5-2) ... Shawna Mailloux leads the Zips in batting average (.371), runs scored (22) and RBI (17) ... Jessica Reiman is second on the squad with a .351 average and 14 RBI ... In the circle, Erin Seiler has proven to be one of the league’s top pitchers with a 2.10 ERA and a 12-4 overall record over 120.0 innings of work ... She is holding opponents to a .231 average and has struck out 106 batters while issuing just 44 walks ... The Zips are batting .293 as a team, while limiting opponents to a .244 average ... Akron also has a 148-to-108 edge in runs score over its opposition this season ... Ball State holds a 27-21 lead in the all-time series versus Akron, including wins in seven of the last eight games ... Last season, the Cardinals swept an April 12 doubleheader at Akron, winning the first game 11-6 (8 inn.) and the second 5-0.
► SCOUTING OHIO (RPI - 104): The Bobcats enter the week with a 23-17 overall record, including a league-best 8-2 mark in MAC play ... After dropping both ends of a Tuesday doubleheader at Ohio State last Tuesday (L, 6-0 / L, 10-9 in 8 inn.), Ohio rebound with a Friday DH sweep of Toledo (W, 6-0 / W, 5-4) and wins over Bowling Green Saturday (W, 6-0) and Sunday (W, 3-2) ... Ohio is scheduled to play a Friday twinbill at Miami before traveling to Ball State ... Amanda Dalton and Adrienne Gebele are tied for the team lead with .336 batting averages ... Dalton has drawn a team-best 24 walks, while Gebele is tied for the team lead with six home runs and second on the squad with 21 RBI ... Savannah Jo Dorsey is Ohio’s ace in the circle, compiling a 17-12 record, a 2.46 ERA and a MAC-leading 183 strikeouts over 167.2 innings of work ... Ohio is batting .280 as a team, while holding opponents to a .254 average ... The Bobcats also hold a 174-to-170 edge in runs score over its opposition this season ... Ball State owns a 40-34-1 lead in the all-time series, including victories in nine of the last 12 meetings ... The Cardinals won both regular season meetings last season by scores of 9-7 (April 13) and 8-4 (April 14), while also claiming a 7-6 victory in the MAC Tournament (May 11).
► LEADING THE NATION: Jennifer Gilbert enters the week as the NCAA Division I active career leader in RBI (230), runs scored (200), doubles (59) and home runs (71), all of which are also MAC career records ... Gilbert’s 230 career RBI are 25 ahead of the next closest player, Alabama’s Kaila Hunt ... Her 71 career home runs are five ahead of Oklahoma junior Lauren Chamberlain, while her 200 career runs scored are five ahead of Arizona State’s Alix Johnson ... Gilbert’s 59 career doubles are one ahead of Harvard’s Kasey Lange and just five more than her Ball State classmate first baseman Taylor Rager in fourth at 54 ... Gilbert also enters the week ranked sixth in career slugging percentage (.819), seventh in hits (259), 10th in at bats (667) and 21st in triples (10) among active NCAA Division I players.
► IN THE TOP 10: With her 71st career home run in the first game of last Saturday’s doubleheader at Western Michigan, Jennifer Gilbert moved into a tie for 10th on the NCAA Division I career home run list ... Gilbert, who is already the NCAA career home run leader among Canadian-born players, could climb a couple more spots this week if she matches the four home runs she hit in BSU’s five games last week ... Former UCLA slugger Stacey Nuveman (1997, 99, 2001-02) is the NCAA Division I career home leader with 90 long balls ... Gilbert also enters Wednesday’s doubleheader ranked ninth in NCAA Division I history with a .819 career slugging percentage, which includes all the active players meeting the minimum requirements (250 career at bats).
► THE RAGER FACTOR: In addition to being the program’s record holder for career double plays turned at 60, Taylor Rager is also near the top in nearly every career offensive charts ... Rager is currently fourth in program history with a .351 career batting average ... Her 161 career RBI and 54 career doubles are both second in BSU annals and third in MAC history ... She also ranks third in program history in home runs (33) and fifth in hits (215).
► WALK IT OUT: Taylor Rager became just the sixth player in Mid-American Conference history to draw 100 career walks when she was issued a free pass in the third inning of the April 5 win over Toledo ... She enters the week ranked third in program history and sixth in MAC annals with 104 career walks ... With four walks last weekend, Jennifer Gilbert moved into 12th in league history with 86 career walks, while senior third baseman Audrey Bickel is 15th at 83 ... The only other active MAC players ranked in the top 15 on the league’s career walks chart are Ohio senior Raven King (84) and Miami senior Kayla Ledbetter (84).
► WINNING IN THE CIRCLE: Despite just a year-and-a-half under their belts, sophomore pitchers Kelsey Schifferdecker and Nicole Steinbach enter the week as two of the winningest pitchers in program history ... Schifferdecker’s 25 career wins are tied for 11th on Ball State’s career list, while Steinbach’s 24 wins are 14th ... Both are on pace to break into the top 10 by the end of the 2014 season ... Steinbach is also tied for third in BSU annals with five career saves.
► Ball State posted a 3-0 win at then-No. 3 Arizona State March 2, marking the highest-ranked opponent the Cardinals have defeated since a 2-1 victory at then-No. 3 Missouri March 19, 2010.
► Through Ball State’s first six league games, Jennifer Gilbert paces all league batters with a .625 (10-for-16) batting average and a 1.250 slugging percentage ... She has also draw five walks and been hit by a pitch once for a league-best .727 on base percentage.
► Of Briana Evans’ 45 hits this season, 24 have been either infield hits or bunt singles ... Evans is also tied for eighth in the MAC with 10 stolen bases this season.
► Briana Evans leads the league with four triples this season, with all four coming in BSU victories ... Her first triple came in a 7-1 win over Morehead State (Feb. 22) ... Her second came in a 12-0 (5 inn.) win over Alabama A&M (March 14) ... She posted triples in back-to-back games versus North Dakota State (6-4) and UMKC (8-0, 5 inn.) March 22.
► Junior right fielder Loren Cihlar remains the top base stealer in program history based on percentage, with a .935 (29-for-31) rate of success over her career ... She is 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts this season, earning her first swipe of the year versus Virginia Tech (Feb. 16).
► After serving mainly as a pinch hitter/runner last season, sophomore Emily Dabkowski has stepped nicely into the starting role at second base for the Cardinals in 2014 ... She has reached base safely in 31 of Ball State’s 37 games and owns a 10-game hitting streak starting versus No. 3 Arizona State (March 2) and ending following a single versus No. 23 Auburn (March 15).
► Emily Dabkowski drove in what proved to be the game-winning run versus No. 3 Arizona State (March 2) with a two-out RBI single through the left side in the top of the seventh inning ... She also showed a flair for the dramatic versus Murray State (Feb. 22), blasting an eighth inning walk-off two-run homer over the left-center field wall to give BSU the 5-3 victory ... In the April 11 win at Northern Illinois, Dabkowski blasted her first career grand slam with two outs in the seventh inning to drive in what proved to be the game-winning runs.
► Overall, Emily Dabkowski has helped account for 10 game-winning runs this season, including scoring the winning run six times and adding four game-winning RBI ... Jennifer Gilbert is second, accounting for nine game winning runs, with seven game-winning RBI and four game-winning runs scored (two of which were on her own home runs and are factored out) ... Five of Gilbert’s MAC-leading 15 home runs this season have produced game-winning RBI.
► Lauren Schroeder blasted a three-run, pinch-hit home run with two outs in the third inning of the April 5 win over Toledo ... It was her eighth career home run and fourth career three-run blast ... Of her eight career home runs, five have been pinch-hit bombs, including a walk-off grand slam to cap last season’s run rule of Butler (April 9, 2013).
► Ball State’s defense collected its 16th double play of the season in last Wednesday’s win at Purdue ... The Cardinals entered the week ranked first in the league and 25th nationally with a 0.43 double plays-per-game average ... Last season, Ball State ranked fourth nationally with a 0.56 double plays per game average, turning 30 double plays in 54 games.
► Uniform Watch 2014: Ball State enters the week with a 9-1 record in its white uniform, an 11-8 mark in its black uniform, a 3-4 ledger in its grey uniform and a 0-1 mark in its red tops.