Junior pinch runner Aeshia Miles runs to third base during the second game of the double-header against Northern Illinois on April 4 at the Softball Field at the First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Ball State won the first game 3-2 and the second game 6-4. Emma Rogers, DN File
Ball State softball opens up Troy Cox Classic against No. 1 Oklahoma
Finishing up the FGCU Kickoff Classic with three wins and a pair of losses, Ball State softball (3-2) will head out west this weekend for the Troy Cox Classic in New Mexico.
Ball State will face a big challenge in its first game of the weekend as it will take on defending national champion No. 1 Oklahoma (5-0) on Friday. The Sooners were dominating in Phoenix last weekend as they scored 35 runs and only allowed four in five games. Pitcher Paige Parker has been hot for the Sooners lately as she threw for three wins in 12.1 innings, allowing no runs and striking out 13. The last time the Cardinals met the Sooners was in 1994 when the Sooners edged out the Cardinals, 1-0.
In the Friday night and the Saturday afternoon slots, the Cardinals will meet with Boston University (3-2). The Terriers have come off a busy weekend in the FAU Kickoff Classic with wins over Michigan State, Northern Illinois and an extra-inning win over Duke. The Terriers hold two losses on the season against Bethune-Cookman and Ohio State, which also went extra innings. Junior Alex Heinen has been connecting for the Tarries as she hit five of six on the weekend with two RBIs. The birds and the dogs met two seasons ago in Maryland where the Cardinals took the game, 5-4.
The Cardinals will conclude the tournament Saturday night against host New Mexico State (2-1). The Aggies wrapped up a three-game series with Kentucky last weekend. The Aggies exploded on offense against the Wildcats in their doubleheader last Saturday, 12-9 and 10-6. The Aggies would drop the Sunday game, 10-2. The Cardinals have not faced the Aggies in recent history.
The Cardinals themselves are coming off a strong performance on both offense and defense. Sophomore Kennedy Wynn caught lightning in a bottle last weekend as she hit three over the fence and avoided a shutout against Memphis. Sophomore Hayley Dominique connected with the ball six different times last weekend and would hit 3-4 in a 10-2 against LIU Brooklyn.
On the mound, the pitching unit proved to be a force to reckon with last weekend. Junior Aeshia Miles tied her career high in strikeouts with six in an 8-2 win against NC State. Senior Carolyn Wilmes only allowed three hits and shutout the opposition for five innings in a 5-1 over Georgetown. Sophomore Alyssia Rothwell was a strong closing act throughout the weekend as she would only allow two runs in three closeouts. Rothwell would also strike out a combined six batters in closeout wins against NC State and Georgetown.
Ball State will take on Oklahoma at 1:15 p.m. MST Friday.