Ball State Softball drops 2 of 3 in final MAC series

<p>Ball State sophomore Alyssa Rothwell, left, catches a ground ball while Central Michigan player Madison Kalina runs to first base during the first game against the Chippewas April 21 at the softball field at First Merchant’s Ballpark Complex. Kalina was called out. <strong>Briana Hale, DN</strong></p>

Ball State sophomore Alyssa Rothwell, left, catches a ground ball while Central Michigan player Madison Kalina runs to first base during the first game against the Chippewas April 21 at the softball field at First Merchant’s Ballpark Complex. Kalina was called out. Briana Hale, DN

To start its final Mid-American Conference series of the season, Ball State (32-17, 9-7 MAC) split a Friday doubleheader with Central Michigan (19-24-1, 9-7-1 MAC) before falling in game three Saturday in Mount Pleasant. 

An abundance of errors in game three cost the Cardinals the series. They allowed eight of the Chippewas’ 10 runs to score off errors. Four of the team’s five errors occurred in the second inning with the others coming in the fifth to put the Chippewas in front, 10-4. 

The Chippewas had four batters with two or more hits as senior Sara Hansen led the way with three.

The Cardinals managed to make a run in the top of the sixth after junior Janae Hogg notched a three-run homer and sophomore Stacy Payton followed with a solo shot of her own. The efforts were not enough to come back from the deficit, and the Chippewas sealed the series with a game-three score of 10-8.

In the opening game of the series, the Cardinals fell behind 3-1 after one inning. Sophomore Kendall Fields notched an RBI to break open the scoring for the Cardinals before the Chippewas grabbed three runs in the home half of the inning on two singles and a sacrifice fly. 

The Chippewas then went on to score another run in the second on a Cardinal error to hold a 4-1 advantage heading into the third. Hogg blasted her eighth home run of the season for the Cardinals to pull the game within two. 

It took until the top of the sixth for the score to change as the Cardinals busted the game open and took their first lead since the top of the first. Junior Kennedy Wynn drove home a run with a single to pull the game within one before Senior Annie Robinson drove home the tying run with a sacrifice fly. 

The Cardinals posted three more runs in the sixth courtesy of a go-ahead RBI single by freshman Sarah Venker and an RBI double from junior Haley Dominique. Dominique scored on a wild pitch to give the Cardinals a 7-4 victory.  

Game two played out similarly as the later innings proved to be the difference. Tied 1-1 heading into the fourth, the Cardinals nabbed a run to take a one-run lead before the Chippewas scored two in the same inning to retake the advantage. 

With the score even at 3-3 heading into the sixth, the Chippewas scored five runs, including two on a double by senior Allison Curtis. Freshman Kaitlyn Bean tossed a complete game for the Chippewas, striking out seven and allowing just five hits.

Ball State will play Purdue Fort Wayne and Oakland May 4 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to wrap up its regular season.

Contact Gabi Glass with any comments at grglass@bsu.edu or on Twitter @gabiglassbsu.

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