While there may be snow on the ground in Muncie, the Ball State Softball team is kicking off their 2018 season down in sunny Florida in the Florida Gulf Coast University kick-off classic.

This season, the Cardinals will be returning the bulk of their roster in 14 of 17 players who were on the field last season. In addition, the Cardinals welcome on six freshmen in catcher/infielders Isabel Moore and Stacy Peyton, infielders Kendall Fields and Hailey Deminaniuk and outfielders Taylor Castleberry and Katie Janiga.

One thing that the Cardinals look to bring back to the field this year is their talent and depth they had in pitching last season. Sophomore Alyssa Rothwell finished third in MAC rankings with a .192 opponents’ batting average. Senior Carolyn Wilmes finished fifth in the MAC and 90th in national rankings in strikeouts posting 6.6 strikeouts per game. Wilmes also threw the first no hitter in seven years for the Cardinals last season.

On the offensive side of the game, sophomore Hailey Dominique connected with just about everything last season as she was the hardest player in the MAC to strike out only getting the three and out four times in the 2017 season. Senior Brittany Hopper led the team in walks last season with 25 which landed her in the top 10 for most walks in the MAC.

Diving into this weekend, the Cardinals start off the weekend with a against Memphis and LIU Brooklyn. Saturday the Cardinals will have another back-to-back slot against NC State and Georgetown before wrapping it up against FGCU on Sunday.  The Cardinals have had experience with both FGCU and LIU Brooklyn last season. The Cardinals fell to FGCU last season in Ft. Myers, 3-1. A week later, the Cardinals would see the same demise in a different city as they would be shutout by LIU Brooklyn in Boca Raton, 3-0. The Cardinals held a record of 1-3 in their season opening tournament in 2017.

First pitch will be thrown Friday in Fort Meyers at 12:15 p.m. 

Contact Jack Williams with comments at jgwilliams@bsu.edu.