All that stands between Ball State softball and a 10th consecutive victory is an upcoming Big Ten opponent. Ohio State is set to host Ball State today at 6 p.m.
The Buckeyes (26-14) will challenge the red-hot offense of Ball State with strong pitching. Ohio State sophomore Alex DiDomenico has led her team to wins against three top 20 teams this season — Georgia, Louisville and Arizona.
The Big Ten pitcher leads her conference in hits allowed with 79. DiDomenico has also posted four complete-game shutouts.
Ball State pitchers have been stepping up in the circle as well. Freshman Nicole Steinbach, now with five complete-game shutouts under her belt, has held opposing sluggers to a .231 average.
Eight of the Cardinals’ last nine games have been against Middle-American Conference opponents. Junior Jennifer Gilbert led Ball State to its current record of 12-0 in the conference, taking care of some personal records while she was at it.
Gilbert now holds the Ball State and MAC single-season home run records with 19. Her career total of 52 is just five short of the MAC record set by Kelli Metzger (1996-99).
Gilbert set the career mark for RBIs during that stretch as well with 173, breaking the previous mark of 167, also set by Metzger.
Led by the .500 and .418 batting averages held by Gilbert and Taylor Rager, respectively, the Ball State offense is now ranked 20th in the nation with a .328 team average.
On the strength of its 28-11 overall record entering the week, the Ball State softball team is ranked 50th in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The Buckeyes are ranked 60th.
The Cardinals return home this weekend to host single games against Miami at 2 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday.