Taylor Castleberry rounds second after Stacy Payton hits a ball to the outfield in the fifth inning during the Cardinals' game against Kent State April 7 at the Softball Field at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Eric Pritchett, DN
Lack of offense causes Ball State's 4-2 loss to Western Michigan
After a weather cancelation and a rescheduled game, Ball State softball (27-14, 9-5 MAC) faced off against Western Michigan (22-18, 9-6 MAC) in the final game of the weekend series this afternoon.
The pitching style of Bronco Jordan Kurth was again too much for the Cardinals to handle, as they dropped the game, 4-2.
“We couldn’t seem to get anything going offensively,” head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett said. “Kurth is a senior in this conference, left handed pitcher, spins a nice rise ball and played a great game. We just couldn’t seem to get going.”
Kurth found her rhythm on the pitcher's mound, striking out seven Cardinals and only allowing four hits over the course of the game. This included going straight down the order for the Cardinals in two of the seven innings.
“She threw a lot of changes ups for a strike,” Bartlett said. “She had only about a 25 percent change up on strikes Friday, and today she was closer to the 80 percent range. Somebody needs to square up to a change up and that is just what it comes down to.”
The Cardinals held a 1-0 lead in the first inning after sophomore Haley Dominique scored off of a fly ball. Freshman Stacy Payton made things interesting in the fourth inning registering an RBI-triple that brought in the last run of the day.
“Off the bat I was looking for the ball to stay fair and I was just looking for two,” Payton said. “When I was halfway to third, I saw coach waving her arm telling me to stop, but it was too late and it ended up working out.”
With less than a month left in the season and the team going 4-4 in its last eight games, the Cardinals plan to reignite their offense, before heading into post season play in just a few weeks.
“We win ball games when we get the ball to leave the yard and we just didn’t do that today,” Bartlett said. “Anytime the middle of our lineup can’t get the ball to leave the yard, it’s tough. We have to come up with extra base hits, homeruns and things like that to be successful.”
The Cardinals finish the weekend series at 1-2 and remain locked in second in the Mid-American Conference West standings. Ball State heads to Butler to play a make-up game on Wednesday.