Junior Carolyn Wilmes winds up to pitch the ball in the game against Central Michigan at the Varsity Softball Complex on April 23. The Ball State softball team will travel to Florida this weekend to compete in the Citrus Classic I at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. Allye Clayton // DN File
PREVIEW: Ball State softball to compete in Citrus Classic I
Ball State softball (3-7) will travel to Florida today to open up a 17-game series in the Sunshine State over the next three weeks.
This weekend, the Cardinals will compete in the Citrus Classic I to play four games in two days at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
After traveling over 1,000 miles away for three consecutive weekends, head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett emphasizes the importance of her team’s well-being this weekend.
Citrus Classic l schedule
Friday, 11 am. vs. Oakland
Friday, 3:30 p.m. vs. Lehigh
Saturday, 11 a.m. vs. Georgia Southern
Saturday, 1:15 p.m. vs. Liberty
“We need to get healthy,” Ciolli Bartlett said. “It’s week three and we’re a little banged up. As we go on and get healthier and they continue to get more experience under their belt, I think it will all come together.”
This will be Ball State’s first appearance in the Citrus Classic since the 2012 season when the team went 3-2, with wins over Temple, Lipscomb and LIU Brooklyn. This time around, Ball State will play Oakland (4-1) and Lehigh on Friday before finishing the weekend against Georgia Southern (3-6) and Liberty (5-4) on Saturday.
After a strong defensive performance last weekend, freshman Darcie Huber enters the Citrus Classic I ranked third in the Mid-American Conference with three pitching wins on the season. With over 31 innings of work, which also ranks her third among pitchers in the MAC, Huber holds a 3.61 ERA and has held opposing patters to a .294 average this season.
Ciolli Bartlett would like to see the rest of her defense come together this weekend outside of the pitcher’s mound.
“We have a few people playing out of position, and we’ve had to move the defense around from game to game,” Ciolli Bartlett said. “It’s wonderful that we have so many athletic kids that can play at a really high level, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily allowed the defense to settle in really to this point.”
Ball State will be looking to improve its offense as well this weekend. The team had its largest offensive output since 2012 last weekend at the Wildcat Invitational where it beat Drake 17-2. Ciolli Bartlett would like to see her team keep the bats rolling.
“I think it’s going to be important to take advantage of when pitchers miss over the plate,” Ciolli Bartlett said. “We have to do a better job of when the ball catches all white and just swing out of our shoes.”
Freshman Kennedy Wynn enters the week as the Cardinals' top batter with a .474 average. Recording seven hits in 13 at bats with four RBIs last weekend, she now has nine hits and five RBIs on the season.
Ball State is set to take the field against Oakland tomorrow afternoon at 11 a.m.
“Oakland has won a bunch of games at this point,” Ciolli Bartlett said. “They’re going to come out fired up, so it’s going to be a tough one.”