Ball State (34-20) fell to Kent State University (26-23) 4-1 over a span of two days at Firestone Stadium, putting an end to the Cardinals' season.
The game, which began after a one-and-a-half-hour rain and lightning delay May 9, saw Kent State starting strong scoring three runs off two hits in the first inning to holding off the Cardinals.
The Golden Flashes kept up the pressure as Ball State remained runless over the next two innings. In the top of the third, the game was scheduled to resume at 10:30 a.m. the next day due to weather.
“We play and outdoor sport, so it’s just one of those things the kids are used to,” Head coach Megan Bartlett. “I thought we stepped back in this morning right from go with Tieghan on the mound. She worked out the jitters the night before, so I was proud of that effort.”
The game resumed Friday morning and the Golden Flashes’ weren’t done. Hunter Brancifort hit an RBI to score Kellie Asbeka in the bottom of the fourth, advancing the score 4-0.
The Cardinals fought back with Janae Hogg hitting a left-field homer at the top of the fifth moving the score to 4-1. That score would remain for the entirety of the game, though, retiring the Cardinals’ seasons and advancing the Golden Flashes into the rest of the MAC championships.
Barlett admitted they were up against some tough teams in the MAC championships, but nonetheless thought they did a great job as a team.
“This was a tough tournament, we faced the defending champ and then we faced the pitcher and the freshman of the year and she’s good, she’s tough,” Bartlett said. Kent State’s pitcher Andrea Scali only allowed two hits during the game and had a total of 20 wins on the season. “She can spin it up, spin it down, move it off speed and we threatened a couple times but just couldn’t get a big ball to land with runners in scoring position.”
Hogg finished the season with ten home runs, and hopes to continue to focus on her offensive game as she heads into her senior year.
“I have to stay focused and locked in every pitch and every at bat and know my strengths and weaknesses as a hitter,” Hogg said. “I just have to remember and know what I do best as a hitter, just trust the philosophy and go out and attack every pitch.”
Bartlett is excited about the young talent the team has going into the off season.
“Looking forward, the young kids got a lot of time this year,” Bartlett said. “We get back to work, we get another nine months training under their belt and hopefully we have a couple people really step up to do some special things on a national level.”