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 picks up program's 1000th win, Rothwell breaks saves record as team splits doubleheader
Ball State softball (27-13, 9-4 MAC) played host to Western Michigan (21-18, 8-6 MAC) in a doubleheader matchup Friday.
Falling to the Broncos, 6-4, in the first game, the Cardinals came back for redemption to take the second matchup, 7-6.
“We definitely let that first one get away from us, but we rebounded,” head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett said. “I thought we did a better job commanding the strike zone in game two. Alyssa Rothwell was lights-out on the mound again, just letting our closer do what she does best.”
Rothwell was a major factor in both games for the Cardinals. Relieving senior Carolyn Wilmes in the first game, Rothwell struck out seven and only allowed two runs in the loss. In the second game, Rothwell closed for junior Aeshia Miles, striking out three and shutting the door for the win.
“I just have to make sure I’m spinning the ball a lot to get those strikeouts because that is my strength,” Rothwell said. “On days like today, I’m trying not to overthrow it too much, spin it and the pitches work out really well.”
Rothwell also recorded her seventh save of the season and her school record-breaking 10th save of her career. With this being her first year in the closer role, Rothwell is extremely grateful for breaking this record.
“This is my first time being in the closer role, and I never really knew about it until coach brought it up to me this year,” Rothwell said. “It’s huge for me to make milestones like this and break some record.”
Not only did the team have a strong game on defense but on offense as well. Four different Cardinals sent the ball over the fence Friday, making up for almost half of the team's runs on the day.
“We did a great job of swinging at strikes and watching balls,” Bartlett said. “We can consistently command the strike zone with our hitters. We have pretty good hand-eye coordination; we’re pretty powerful, and if we continue doing this, good things are going to happen.”
While Cardinals did split today’s matchup, their single win of the day marked the program’s 1,000th win, an achievement that Bartlett is honored by.
“Ball State is a special place, and this program historically has just been very dominant and successful in this conference,” Bartlett said. “I’m just very grateful to be a part of it.”
The Cardinals will wrap up their series with the Broncos tomorrow at 1 p.m.