Playing against two top-25 opponents, Ball State softball began their season against stiff competition, finishing 2-3 at the Sand Dollar Classic.

The Cardinals' three losses came at the hands of No. 11 Louisiana Lafayette (4-22), Southern Mississippi (1-17) and No. 25 South Alabama (0-8). Ball State posted a run differential of -42 in those three games combined.

There were two wins for the Cardinals from Louisiana Tech (6-1) and the University of Alabama-Birmingham (3-2).

Rachel Houck Stats

UAB - 1-3 1R 1HR 2RBI 1BB

South Alabama: - 2-3

Louisiana Tech - 1-4 2R 1RBI

Louisiana Lafayette - 1-2 1R 1RBI 1BB

Southern Mississippi - 0-2

“We have a few things to work on when we get back,” head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett said in a statement. “The best things we can take from this weekend is that we are finding an identity. Good programs are going to be able to respond to adversity, and I think the team is showing glimmers of that, which I think is a positive.”

Junior outfielder/infielder Rachel Houck was the hot bat for the Cardinals over the weekend, going 5-12 (.417) at the plate with four RBIs and one home run. She was joined by senior second base/shortstop Emily Dabkowski who, against Louisiana Tech, went 2-3 with a triple and four RBIs.

On the mound, senior pitcher Nicole Steinbach put together two complete game outings against UAB and Louisiana Tech, only allowing three earned runs on seven strikeouts on her way to picking up her first two wins of the season.

Two freshmen, Becca Rodriguez and Madeline Porter, achieved their first hits as Cardinals over the weekend as well. Rodriguez’s was a single against Southern Mississippi, while Porter’s was a double in the winning effort against UAB.

The team’s next game is against Texas on Friday, Feb. 19 in Houston, Texas at the Houston Tournament where they will also see Jackson State, Houston and Iowa State.