Despite having notched 35 victories this season, the Ball State softball team is still finding new ways to win.
A 6-5 victory over Kent State moved Ball State’s record in the Mid-American Conference to 18-2. The win also marked the 100th in MAC play for head coach Craig Nicholson, who is in his seventh season with the Cardinals.
An offensive slump of late has left his team in a number of competitive games that went down to the wire.
“It’s good as a team to find ways to win, we’ve played three tight games now this weekend and found a way to win them all,” Nicholson said.
On Saturday, it was drilling a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that sealed the Ball State victory.
Though Ball State held a 5-3 lead heading into the seventh inning, Kent State’s Lauren Balodis drilled a two-out double in the top of the frame. A quick pair of runs would tie things up.
The Golden Flashes’ defense shut the Cardinals out in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
Audra Sanders, senior relief pitcher, was able to hold Kent State to just one hit in the top of the eighth and forced a ground out to close the inning.
The stage was set for freshman, Selena Reyna. She stepped up to the plate with confidence and sent the ball high over the left field wall.
“The big thing with her, is she’s just continued to improve,” Nicholson said of Reyna. “She’s continuing to get better, and becoming more consistent. I think down the road she’ll be a big part of our offense.”
It was Reyna’s fifth home run of the season. A batting average of just .233 on the season is not indicative of her production, as she has also posted 30 RBIs.
Junior outfielder, Jennifer Gilbert, and sophomore outfielder, Hanne Stuedemann, got in on the home run action as well. Gilbert’s long ball was her program-record 21st of the season.Ball State will honor its seniors in the second of a two-game series versus Kent State on Sunday. The Cardinals' regular season finale is set to begin at 1 p.m.