Junior Olivia Huffman cheers on her way to second base as one of her teammates scores in the second inning during the Cardinals' game against Kent State April 7 at the Softball Field at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Eric Pritchett, DN
Ball State softball looks to reignite offense in final home series against Central Michigan
Coming off its second straight loss on Wednesday, Ball State softball (27-15, 9-5 MAC) looks to get back into the swing of things in its final home series against Central Michigan (18-18, 8-6 MAC).
“We are going to try and just keep things simple,” head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett said. “Simple meaning ... were going to be hitting strikes, watching balls and making sure the we have control over what we’re focused on. We’re trying to be highly process oriented, not worrying about the results, moving on and having positive energy.”
As of late, the Cardinals have had trouble getting the offense going as they have been outscored 13-5 in their last two matchups. With not as much production on the plate, the Cardinals are looking to come out aggressive with the bats.
“We haven’t been as hot as we wanted to be lately, but that fire built up in us is going to help us,” sophomore Kennedy Wynn said. “Every time is going to be ready for that fire and we’re about ready to explode. I can’t wait for it.”
Offensive production has shown to have an effect on defense as well. The majority of the games this season have shown that when offense is pumping, so is the work in the field and on the mound.
“It’s funny with this team that the more locked down we are mound, the better we are defensively,” Bartlett said. “When we get in a groove like that, it takes a lot of pressure off of our hitters and we just free swing a little better. As long as we play a little more loose on offense, the sky’s the limit.”
Looking at the Central Michigan, both teams are only separated by one game in the conference standings with similar losses to Western Michigan and Michigan. The Chippewas sit two seeds behind the Cardinals in the Mid-American Confernce standings, but hold a defensive advantage in overall fielding and pitch.
Ball State's offense has shown to be strong as well as senior Lacy Tolfree leads the MAC in stolen bases with 17 on the season. Junior Sara Hansen also leads the MAC in sac bunts with 13. According to Bartlett, the Cardinals need to match the Chippewas' offense in order to be successful this weekend.
“We just have to get hot with the bats this weekend,” Bartlett said. “If we do that and lock down on the mound, we will be successful.”
The first matchup of the three-game series is Friday at 3 p.m. at First Merchants Ballpark.