Then-freshman infielder Julia Bailey runs the bases against IPFW March 18 at the Softball Field at the First Merchants Ballpark Complex. DN PHOTO MAKAYLA JOHNSON
Ball State softball prepares for WKU Hilton Plaza Invitational
The softball team travels to Bowling Green, Ky. to participate in the Western Kentucky Hilton Plaza Invitational.
Ball State will take on Southeast Missouri, Western Carolina, Western Kentucky and Valparaiso over the course of three days.
Friday, Feb. 26
Southeast Missouri - 5:15 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27
Western Carolina - 10:30 a.m.
Western Kentucky - 12:45 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28
Valparaiso - 10:30 a.m.
The team is coming off its second straight 2-3 weekend in Houston which saw three losses, one to Iowa State and two to Texas.
“The first loss to Iowa State was a heartbreaker. One big hit, that’s the difference in that game,” said head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett. “We’ve left a lot of people in scoring position. When we needed a big hit, we came up with a fly ball and I hate fly balls.”
They finished the weekend strong with two straight wins; revenge over Iowa State and the team's biggest win margin of the season, 10-0, against Houston.
“I thought the girls responded really well. They do a good job of looking at it analytically, like what we need to adjust so by the end of the weekend we’re doing a better job at the plate,” Bartlett said.
This week in practice, Bartlett talked about improving the team’s offense to be able to compete more in games for the rest of the season.
“We need to make the offensive adjustments of being in the driver’s seat in and at bat, attacking that first good strike, not getting behind in the count, not waiting to chase somebody else’s pitch,” she said.
Ball State will go the weekend without seeing a top 25 ranked team for the first time this season, previously seeing No. 11 Louisiana Lafayette, No. 25 South Alabama and No. 24 Texas.
Bartlett is looking forward to another challenge this weekend, but also excited for the team’s shortest travel distance so far this year and a little team bonding.
“I am looking forward to a good old-fashioned bus trip. We’ll put in some good movies and we’ll have a nice family dinner headed down to Kentucky, and not having to fly for a weekend is a nice luxury.”
The Cardinals will kick off their weekend this Friday, Feb. 26, against Southeast Missouri at 5:15 p.m.