Sophomore catcher Olivia Huffman smiles before her turn at bat during the second game of the double-header against Northern Illinois on April 4 at the Softball Field at the First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Huffman hit a home run during the first game of the double-header. Emma Rogers // DN
RECAP: Ball State softball splits double-header with Eastern Michigan
Ball State's pitching staff gave it their all in a double-header against Eastern Michigan today. Finishing out the day with a split, the Cardinals were handed their first loss at home this season.
Right-handed freshman pitcher Alyssa Rothwell pitched the first game of the day, ending in a 9-0 shutout over Eastern Michigan (15-25, 3-12 MAC). Rothwell recorded four strikeouts and only gave up one hit in four innings of work. Rothwell is now 5-2 on the season with a 2.14 ERA.
Ball State (27-12, 11-4 MAC) came ready to hit in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman left fielder Haley Dominique was the first base runner of the day for the Cardinals after being hit by a pitch. Senior center fielder Rachel Houck reached base on an error to put a pair of runners on base.
Freshman third baseman Janae Hogg gave the Cardinals their first hit of the game with a single to left-center to load the bases with no outs. Junior second baseman Maddy Labrador drew the second walk of the inning to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Madison Lee tacked on another run to make it 2-0 after an RBI single to left.
Junior first baseman Danae King picked up an RBI of her own with a sacrifice fly to left, while freshman right fielder Kennedy Wynn hopped on board with a 2-RBI double to make it 5-0 at the end of the first inning.
Houck kept the momentum going in the top of the second with a one-out double to pick up her league-leading 16th double of the season. Hogg walked, followed by an error by the Eagle's defense to extend the Cardinal's lead 6-0. Lee wasn't finished yet, as she added another hit and RBI to make it 7-0.
Lee finished the game 3-3 at the plate, scoring two runs for the Cardinals. Lee has 17 RBIs on the season.
The Cardinals scored two more runs in the third inning, forcing the Eagles to go to their bullpen. Right-handed freshman pitcher Darcie Huber came in to pitch in the fifth inning. Retiring Eastern Michigan in the fifth, Ball State ended the game in the fifth inning with a 9-0 victory.
Junior right-handed pitcher Carolyn Wilmes had a day on the mound in their second meeting of the day. Although suffering a loss, Wilmes recorded career-best of 10 strikeouts in her six innings pitched today.
Although game two started off just like the first with Dominique reaching base after getting hit by another pitch, it did not end as well as the first game.
Going scoreless through four innings, Wilmes was consistent on the mound. She retired the Eagles in order for the third time of the game, to remain scoreless after five. Wilmes gave up her second hit of the game before firing back with three strikeouts to put her at 10 strikeouts in just six innings of work.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Aeshia Miles came in to relieve Wilmes. Miles recorded her third loss of the season.
A pair of hits by the Eagles lead to an RBI single from sophomore outfielder Lucy Lopez to give Eastern Michigan a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh.
Not going down without a fight, the Cardinals left two runners on base in the their last chance at-bat to go down 1-0.
Ball State will continue Mid-American Conference play this weekend as it hosts a three-game series with Toledo. A single-game is set to start at 3 p.m. Friday, while it will finish the series with a double-header set for 1 p.m. Saturday.