SOFTBALL: Purdue sweeps Ball State with dominant pitching

Cardinals one-hit in night cap

Ball State University's Wednesday performance at the plate can be described as night and day.

Ball State (28-13) was swept by Purdue University (22-22) on the Cardinals' home field. The Boilermakers took the first game 6-4 and the second 7-0.

Game 1: Purdue 6, Ball State 4
Problems began early for the Cardinals.

The Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week, Kate Wilczynski, was struck by a pitch between the shoulder blades and was replaced by Kristy Stratton. She did not return for the rest of the day.

"[Wilczynski] got the nerve on the elbow and we will be revaluating it tomorrow and see how she is," coach Craig Nicholson said. "Stratton came in and did a good job today. She got a big bunt down for us and did a nice job at first base."

The next batter, Amanda Montalto, would reach on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded, scoring Amanda Carpenter and giving Ball State a 1-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Purdue's Molly Garst was caught in a rundown, but as she retreated to the bag her hand blocked Sadie Robertson's throw, sending the ball into left field. This allowed one run to score.

Another controversial call in the fourth gave Purdue's Ashley Barr the opportunity to scamper home, and the Boilermakers took the lead 2-1.

A game full of wild plays continued into the sixth; Stratton reached base on a fielder's choice and a toss to third went astray sending Carpenter home to tie the score. Two more runs were tacked on from another fielder's choice and an RBI single from Meredith Nash.

A lead-off home run from Purdue starting pitcher Suzie Rzegocki and a two-out single by Garst would send the game to extra innings.

A wild pitch from Ball State starter Elizabeth Milian (20-5), followed by a base hit was all Purdue needed to pick up the win.

"[Nicholson] told us how close games like this could take a lot out of you," right field Alyssa Collins said. "We have to turn it around and pick it up and play our game."

Milian pitched a complete game, giving up nine hits, three earned runs and striking out five.

Game 2: Purdue 7, Ball State 0
In the second game, the offense for Ball State seemingly disappeared.

Rzegocki pitched again for Purdue and controlled the game as soon as she stepped on the rubber.

"[Rzegocki] didn't really do anything different. She just pitched a little better in the second [game]," Nicholson said. "She was a little wild in the first game, but really started hitting her spots. She's a kid that throws hard and changes speeds and that's a challenge in itself."

The Boilermakers jumped out to a 3-0 in the top of the first and never looked back.

Rzegocki pitched her second complete game of the day, throwing a one-hitter. She retired 16 consecutive batters at one point before hitting Montalto with a pitch.

Jessie Ware, who went 1-for-3, was the only Cardinal to record a hit, lining a ball past second base.

Audra Sanders pitched 3 1/3 innings for the Cardinals, giving up five hits, five runs and striking out two. In relief, Kim Mazzapica gave up seven hits, two earned runs and struck out two.

"We played hard, things just didn't quite go our way," Collins said. "We just need to respond to this and make it go our way now."

Brushing off a hard loss can be tough, but responding is the best way to get back into the swing of things.

"Obviously the first game was a tight one. When you give up two in the seventh with a two-run lead, it's tough," Nicholson said. "I felt like we didn't respond well in the second and our at-bats were bad."

Now what needs to be done? Get ready for the next one, Nicholson said.

"We basically need to refocus and get ready for the weekend," he said. "We need to do a better job at getting quality pitches and putting good swings on those pitches."