Ball State senior Cadie O’Donnell hits the ball during the first game against Central Michigan April 21 at the softball field at First Merchant’s Ballpark Complex. Briana Hale, DN
Ball State Softball drops rubber match to Northern Illinois
Ball State (27-14, 5-4 MAC) lost the third and final game against Northern Illinois (18-20, 5-6 MAC) Wednesday in a 4-2 game, giving the Huskies a 2-1 series win on the season.
“Despite the loss, it was a well fought game, and any time the Huskies and the Cardinals show up at the same ballpark it’s going to be a battle,” Ball State head coach Megan Ciolli-Bartlett said.
The first inning saw both teams struggling to find success scoring runs. The Cardinals came close in the bottom of the inning when freshman Amaia Daniel singled to left field to load the bases. The Huskies responded big defensively, inducing junior Kennedy Wynn to fly out.
The second inning featured the first runs on the board after the Huskies’ Hannah Goerke crossed the plate after Sam Schmidt walked. The Huskies followed that with another run on a hit-by-pitch to give them a 2-0 lead.
Ball State closed the gap in the bottom of the third, tying the game after Daniel doubled down the right field line and sophomore Katie Janiga scored on a wild pitch.
The Cardinals were unable to build off their momentum in the next few innings. Junior Haley Dominique said the team’s struggles after the third played a big difference.
“We started a rally in the third inning. We just didn’t carry it over into any of the other innings even though we had opportunities,” Dominique said. “I was put in one of those situations, and I didn’t come up with a hit, so it was very tough for us.”
Freshman Tieghan Morio allowed three runs, only one of them earned, through five innings. Ciolli-Barlett said she was pleased with how her pitcher performed.
“Morio played a beautiful game,” Ciolli-Bartlett said. “I thought she really led the way for the team for the first five innings.”
The Huskies pulled away late after scoring one in the sixth and adding a solo home run in the seventh.
“We need to come up with more timely hitting with runners in scoring position,” Ciolli-Barlett said. “We tend to do a decent job of getting people on base, but the middle of our lineup needs to come up with the big hit when it matters.”
Ball State will look to get back on track with another conference matchup when they go on the road to take on Western Michigan Friday.