SOFTBALL: Ball State travels to IUPUI for final tune-up before beginning of MAC play

Coach hopes to get all three pitchers innings in matchup vs. Jaguars

Ball State University certainly doesn't want to overlook today's game at IUPUI.

But with its Mid-American Conference and home opener vs. Miami University on Saturday, the Cardinals are probably eager to get today's game out of the way.

The Cardinals (19-6) head to the IUPUI Softball Complex for a showdown with the Jaguars (6-19) in a game that will mark the end of Ball State's 26 consecutive games away from home to start the season.

"I think our team is trying to stay sharp," Ball State coach Craig Nicholson said. "We haven't played for five days, so we're just trying to get in a rhythm heading into the weekend."
Nicholson said he's leaning on starting ace Elizabeth Milian for today's game, but hopes to bring in his two other pitchers — Audra Sanders and Kim Mazzapica — for an inning or two of work each.

Milian, the reigning MAC Pitcher of the Year, looks to continue to build upon what has been a magical season so far. She's 13-1 with a 0.51 ERA, fanning 125 batters to just 16 walks.

But Sanders and Mazzapica have both showed improvement on the rubber in their past few appearances. Sanders this season is 4-4 with a 1.92 ERA, while Mazzapica is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA with just four walks in 20 innings pitched.

Nicholson said though IUPUI has struggled at the plate to this point as a team, batting just .223, the Jaguars "are a team that can capitalize on mistakes."

"If we make good pitches, we'll avoid getting hurt," he said. "Whether pitching or on defense, if you give them opportunities they can compete with you."

After today's game, Ball State, which received seven votes in this week's USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 poll, plays host to Miami on Saturday and Sunday.


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