Daily News sports weekend recap Feb. 22
Baseball takes 1 of 3 in Tuscaloosa
Ball State Baseball (2-5, 0-0 MAC) wrapped up its three-game series with Alabama Sunday, going 1-2 on the weekend. Head coach Rich Maloney said he was encouraged by his team’s effort, considering the Cardinals’ tough non-conference schedule.
In game one, sophomore pitcher Drey Jameson turned in another solid outing after holding Stanford hitless in six innings in his last start. Despite giving up five earned runs, Jameson struck out nine batters in four innings. The Cardinals went on to fall to the Crimson Tide, 7-1.
The Cardinals turned the tide on the Tide in game two, winning 8-5 to even the series at a game apiece. The top of the batting order came through for the Cardinals in this one as all eight of the team’s RBIs were courtesy of the first four batters. Junior Aaron Simpson and redshirt freshman Noah Navarro worked as a one-two punch, combining to reach base six times and score four runs. Redshirt junior Chase Sebby and redshirt senior Griffin Hulecki were there to bring them home, driving in five runs.
Game three saw Alabama take back control. The Tide shut out the Cardinals 6-0 and allowed just one hit to win the series. Maloney chalked games one and three up to quality competition. He added that this early-season experience against good teams is going to help Ball State when Mid-American Conference play comes around.
Ball State will travel to South Carolina this weekend for the Swig and Swine Classic with Charleston Southern and Notre Dame.
Ciolli Bartlett picks up 100th career win in California
Ball State Softball (11-5, 0-0 MAC) capped off a 4-1 weekend at the Silicon Valley Classic with a 9-1 victory over the Montana Grizzles (3-12, 0-0 Big Sky), marking the 100th career win for head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett.
To start the weekend, the Cardinals dominated Northern Colorado (3-11, 0-0 Big Sky) on their way to a 10-0 victory as junior Haley Dominique paved the way with three hits and four RBIs. Freshman pitcher Sarah Venker posted six innings of shutout, one-hit ball while striking out 10 batters.
In game two of the Friday double-header, the Cardinals dropped a 5-0 game against the San Jose State Spartans (9-5, 0-0 MW). The Cardinals finished with just three hits.
It did not take long for the Cardinals bats to come alive on Saturday as freshman Trinity Eckerty smacked in three runs to help the Cardinals to an 8-6 win over CSU Bakersfield (5-7, 0-0 WAC). In a hard-fought finish in game two of the day, the Cardinals bested the Utah State Aggies 5-2 after junior Kennedy Wynn drove a three-run home run in extra frames. Junior Alyssa Rothwell pitched the final three outs to complete her sixth save of the season.
A five-run second inning sparked the Cardinals to a win over the Grizzles, led by two RBIs each from Dominique and sophomore Stacy Payton.
The Cardinals head to Tampa, Florida, on Friday to kick off the USF-Clearwater Parks and Recreational Invitational.
Ball State Men’s Tennis wins doubles point, still falls to Cleveland State
Ball State Men’s Tennis had three opportunities to defeat the Cleveland State Vikings in its match on Saturday. But those opportunities, except one, never came to pass. The Cardinals would lose the match, 5-2.
The first opportunity for the Cardinals was winning the doubles point. Freshman Danilo Kovacevic and senior Tom Carney partnered up and won their match, 6-2. Sophomore Chris Adams and senior Conner Andersen won their match and earned a point for the Cardinals.
The other opportunities came in the singles matches. After losing in his doubles match, senior Nemanja Guzina faced Matthew Terry in the No. 2 singles match. Guzina won the first set, 6-1 and was up 3-0 in the second. At the same point, Adams was serving for the first set victory, but lost, 7-6. Guzina was the lone Cardinal to win a singles match.
“If Chris won his first set, then the dynamics of the match would have changed,” head coach Bill Richards said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t do those things and we let them get some confidence in their lower lineup positions.”
For the next two weeks, the Cardinals are playing in California. Richards said his team needs to keep getting better and work hard on their weaknesses, some of those include working on forehands and serving.
“Every individual on the team has things they have to continue to improve that let them down in pivotal spots in matches,” Richard said. “Whatever part of the game it is, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We really just have to continue to work on our weaknesses and try and get them to be better.”
Two Cardinals take top honors at Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships
Senior Regan Lewis has been the champion of the high jump for the past 651 days, as she seized the top spot in the MAC championship on Saturday. Lewis jumped 1.69 meters to beat out the competition and claim her fourth consecutive title. Despite battling injuries, Lewis was able to go out and put on a show in Ohio.
"Regan is tougher than what everyone thinks," head coach Brian Etelman said. "She was in a pretty tough situation having not competed for two-and-a-half months. She could have elected not to compete this weekend. We had that conversation and left it entirely up to her."
Another first-place victory was claimed by senior Jazmin Smith who ran a 8.29 in the 60m hurdles. This was Smith’s second title in this hurdles event after a 8.43 in 2017. The 8.29 gave Smith the second-fastest run in Ball State history. Her record was also the third-fastest time in MAC Indoor Championship history.
"This championship means everything to me," Smith said. "I've been waiting for it since after my sophomore year. Not winning last year to winning this year means all my hard work paid off.”
Junior Kelsey Walters also contributed to the team score by placing eighth in the shot put by throwing 14.37m. This score lands at second on the all-time individual performance list in Ball State history.
Also hitting the podium was junior Bryeana Byrdsong who finished in third in the 200m dash with a time of 24.03. In the preliminary round on Friday, Byrdsong put together the second-fastest individual time in program history by running a 23.99 200m.
As a team, the Cardinals scored 43 points on the weekend which is the best team score since 2009. Ball State scored at least a point in all of the events the team competed in.
Women’s Golf takes 10th at Rio Verde Invitational
Junior Manon Tounalom led the Cardinals by shooting a 77 and a 74 on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The 151 tournament score placed her tied for 26th place overall.
Right behind Tounalom sat freshman Hadley Moritz who notched a 154 on the weekend. This placed Moritz tied for 39th individually. Also contributing to the Cardinals' performance were sophomore Liz Kim and freshman Morgan Lewis who both shot a 155 and sophomore Emily Knouff who shot a 165.
The Rio Verde Invitational is traditionally a 54-hole tournament, but record amounts of snow in Arizona caused the tournament to be shortened to 36 holes.
Xavier and Seton Hall ran away with the tournament by scoring 591 and 594 respectively. Boise State was the only other team to score below 600 with a 598. Ball State ended up tying with Eastern Michigan in 10th place with a total score of 615.
Gymnastics victorious in Battle of the Red Crane
The Cardinals seized a victory with a team score of 194.575 to take the Red Crane Trophy. Illinois State finished in close second with a score of 194.250. Southeast Missouri followed with a team total of 186.900.
The vault continued to be the success story for the Cardinals as they notched a 48.950 as a team. This was Ball State’s highest-scoring rotation with the floor score of 48.850 following right behind it. The team scored a 48.550 on the bars and a 48.225 on the beam. Having the vault as the first rotation of the event allowed the Cardinals to gain some momentum moving forward.
“Anytime that you can start off with a really solid event and a strong score, it definitely gives them the energy and confidence to continue to move over and build off of that,” head coach Joanna Saleem said. “What we try to do is to build from routine one to routine 24.”
The clinching performance of the evening was senior Kaitlyn Menzione’s 9.900 on the floor. This score allowed Menzione to claim an individual victory in the event. Her performance was the final one of the afternoon to push the Cardinals over the Redbirds and into victory.
“You have got to love to watch Kaitlyn Menzione on the floor,” Saleem said. “It was the last routine up and [she] got a 9.900 to win the floor.”
The Cardinals will be back in action against Central Michigan next Sunday for the final home match of the season.