Ball State softball found itself in a down to the wire match with Indiana on Tuesday night, before a pair of late home runs gave the team a 5-2 win.
The Cardinals were able to pull through a slow start on offense with only two runs heading into the sixth inning. With the lack of offense, the team first relied on defensive play to gain much needed momentum early.
Jennifer Gilbert made the all-important double play in the bottom of the second, halting an offensive burst by Indiana to just one run. After snagging a fly ball, she then threw an Indiana runner out at the plate.
Though she did not light up the scoreboard, she helped the team grind out the early innings, something coach Craig Nicholson felt the entire team did well.
“The team really competed well tonight,” Nicholson said. “We didn’t necessarily play overly well, but we competed and we played hard.”
Ball State responded offensively in the third inning. Sophomores Loren Cihlar and Hanne Stuedemann were each able to reach base on Indiana errors, setting up junior Taylor Rager for an RBI single to even the score at 1-1.
Sophomore Jessica Craft nailed a home run in the top of the fourth to giving Ball State a 2-1 lead. Craft went 2-for-2 on the day with two runs scored. It was her sixth career start at catcher.
In her second consecutive complete game, freshman pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker secured a win. She held Indiana to just five hits on the day, and struck out one hitter along the way.
“I think it was a pretty solid win,” Craft said. “We had a couple things that we know we need to work on this week to make sure that we are ready for conference this weekend.”
The Cardinals return to Mid-American Conference play on Friday in a doubleheader at Central Michigan.