Senior left fielder Amanda Arnett looks outfield after making contact with the ball in the game against Central Michigan on April 22 at the Varsity Softball Complex. The Cardinals will travel to Arizona this weekend to compete in the Wildcat Invitational. Allye Clayton // DN File
PREVIEW: Ball State softball vs. Indiana State
Ball State softball sits at .500 with a 17-17 (2-1 MAC) record as it wraps up the non-conference portion of the season today at Indiana State.
The last time the Cardinals finished the regular season with a .500 or better non-conference record was 2014, when they went 20-13. The squad hopes to pull ahead in today’s meeting with the Sycamores.
“We need to sharpen up on Wednesday and get ready to go,” head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett said. “With Indiana State, we’re going to have to make some big plays from plate.”
Where: Eleanor Forsyth St. John Softball Complex, Terre Haute, Indiana
Time: 5 p.m.
Ball State holds a 31-25 edge in the all-time series against Indiana State, though losing 6-5 to the Sycamores in their most recent meeting on Feb. 7, 2015. The Cardinals are preparing their offense while on the road, as the Sycamores hold a 9-6 advantage in games played on its home field.
“When the ball comes across the white, we have to drive it back up the middle of the field,” Ciolli Bartlett said.
Playing their last weekday game at home, the Cardinals are making adjustments to travel this evening. Opening the 2017 season with 30 consecutive road games for the third longest in program history, traveling is nothing new.
While wanting to come out with strong bats today, junior second baseman Maddy Labrador and senior centerfielder Rachel Houck have stayed consistent on offense.
Houck is one of the nation's top sluggers, ranking 16th among all NCAA Division-I players with 11 doubles and ranks 18th with nine home runs. Concerning the MAC, her performance at the plate puts her first in the standings for home runs and ties for second in doubles.
The Cardinals are also looking for a strong performance on the pitching mound today. Freshman Darcie Huber and junior Carolyn Wilmes are leading the pitching staff entering tonight's meeting.
Huber enters the week with a team-leading 2.33 ERA which ranks sixth in the MAC. In over 66 innings of work this season, Huber has held opponents to just 63 hits for a .248 batting average against her. She has 46 strikeouts, including a career-high seven in her first career one-hitter against Oakland on Feb. 24.
Wilmes picked up her third consecutive complete-game shutout victory last weekend against Buffalo, extending her shutout streak to 21.2 innings. Over the past ten games, Wilmes leads the Cardinals' pitching staff with a 1.52 ERA over 23 innings of play. She holds a 4-1 record in her last six appearances, while holding opponents to a .185 batting average.