Wynn’s walk-off home run keeps Ball State’s perfect conference record intact

Senior Kennedy Wynn up to bat during their game against Kent State April 9, 2021, at First Merchants Ballpark. The Cardinals won both games of their double header against the Kent State Golden Flashes. Grace Walton, DN
Senior Kennedy Wynn up to bat during their game against Kent State April 9, 2021, at First Merchants Ballpark. The Cardinals won both games of their double header against the Kent State Golden Flashes. Grace Walton, DN

Ball State (17-9, 11-0 MAC) continued its Mid-American Conference win streak with a series sweep against Kent State (11-17, 8-7 MAC). It was the Cardinals’ third straight sweep since starting conference play March 26.

“It goes back to the trials that we've had all season,” head coach Lacy Wood said. “We've played from behind before, we’ve played from ahead. It’s just kind of knowing that we're eventually going to figure this out, so it was great to watch them do that.”

In Friday’s doubleheader, Ball State won games one and two 1-0 and 7-2, respectively. Freshman infielder Kayla Lissy was responsible for the only run in the first contest, scoring off of an RBI double from sophomore infielder Haley Wynn. 

“[Lissy] has been fantastic,” Wood said. “We knew she was going to be a stabilizing force for us once she got that opportunity at shortstop. Her footspeed is arguably one of the best in the MAC, so any time she can get the ball in the outfield she's automatically invaluable.”

In the 7-2 victory, junior pitcher Tieghan Morio held Kent State to just seven hits and struck out four batters en route to her sixth win of the season. The Cardinals benefited from a four-run fifth inning, when senior catcher Stacy Payton’s RBI single scored senior outfielder Katie Janiga. Soon after, senior catcher/utility Delanie Johnson converted on her second home run of the game, scoring junior outfielder Faith Hensley and Payton. 

After graduate student infielder Janae Hogg’s fifth home run of the season began Saturday’s game, the Cardinals faced a 3-2 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs, Wynn stepped up to the plate with Hensley and Janiga on second and third base. She blasted a walk-off home run over the fence of center field, producing three scores and giving the Cardinals a come-from-behind win.

“Haley Wynn has risen to the top of many challenges in game settings,” Wood said. “When she's out there in a pressure situation, there is nobody else that I'd like to see in there. She is going to give you a tough bat and a tough out, and to see it pay off, I couldn't be happier for her.”

Sophomore pitcher Debroah Jones picked up her second win of the weekend on the mound, striking out two batters while holding the Golden Flashes to 10 hits and three unearned runs. Wood was pleased with the progression from her pitching staff throughout the week in practice, and believed their performances were accurate representations of the work they’ve put in.

“Our pitching staff really worked hard and made some adjustments in the bullpen during the week,” Wood said. “Both Tieghan and Deborah gave some really good challenges for us this weekend."

The fourth game of the series was scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday but rained out. Ball State returns to the diamond in its final non-conference matchup of the season April 13 on the road against Butler (13-15, 5-7 Big East). First pitch is 4 p.m.

“It’s a game that we can make sure all of the pieces of the puzzle are firing in the right direction,” Wood said. “They’re going be good competition for us and help us get prepared because after this week, we're going to have midweek conference games every weekend until we're done, so it just prepares us for what that's going feel like for the next three, four weeks.”

Contact Charleston Bowles with comments at clbowles@bsu.edu or on Twitter @cbowles01.

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