Continuing its season-opening road trip, Ball State Softball (6-9, 0-0 MAC) played five games over the span of three days as part of the Blazer Classic. Despite losing four out of the five games, head coach Lacy Wood is optimistic about the future of her team as the Cardinals shift their focus to Mid-American Conference play.
“I feel like we're in a really good place,” Wood said. “We finished up this weekend not necessarily the way that we wanted to, but we walked away feeling like, ‘OK, we've got the pieces that we need, and we’re moving in the right direction.’”
On Thursday, the Cardinals suffered a 6-3 loss to UAB. The Blazers held a 6-0 lead through five innings, but Ball State did not go away quietly. The Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the sixth — an RBI single from senior center fielder Kennedy Wynn and a 2-RBI single from graduate student infielder Janae Hogg — but their rally wasn’t enough for the win.
To begin Friday, Ball State fell 1-0 to Samford, despite senior pitcher Darcie Huber holding the Bulldogs to just five hits in six innings. Later that evening, Southern Illinois defeated Ball State 7-1, and the Cardinals stood winless through three games.
However, come Saturday, the Cardinals had an opportunity to spell vengeance on a program that had already defeated them once.
The Cardinals found their groove and punched in a 9-6 victory against Samford. Unlike in the first meeting, Ball State found momentum hitting the ball. The Cardinals totaled 11 hits in the game — with five coming in the sixth inning — all resulting in scores.
Junior second baseman Amaia Daniel scored four RBIs while sophomore pitcher Deborah Jones picked up the win on the mound. Wood believes her players made the necessary changes in between games that eventually helped them score revenge on the Bulldogs.
“It was a totally different mindset from us,” Wood said. “We worked on some things, the headspace, the physical adjustments. An assessment of the girls — they went in, made adjustments and it paid off.”
The Cardinals ended the Blazer Classic falling 12-6 to UAB Saturday night. Moving forward, Ball State will return to the diamond March 26 against Bowling Green (8-7, 0-0 MAC) for its home opener. Wood said the extra week off will be vital for her players’ preparation.
“It's going to allow us some time to really get into practice and find some things where we found that were some of our weaknesses,” Wood said. “We just need to get back and get into a little bit of a practice routine.”