Rothwell’s 8 strikeouts give Ball State victory to split weekend series with Toledo

Ball State Cardinals graduate student pitcher Alyssa Rothwell pitches the ball on April 23, 2021, at the Softball Field at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. The Cardinals finished with a 4-2 victory over Ohio. Madelyn Guinn, DN
Ball State Cardinals graduate student pitcher Alyssa Rothwell pitches the ball on April 23, 2021, at the Softball Field at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. The Cardinals finished with a 4-2 victory over Ohio. Madelyn Guinn, DN

Ball State (27-16, 21-6 MAC) used an extra inning in Sunday’s game to even the four-game series with Toledo (22-19. 12-13 MAC) over the weekend.

In Friday’s opener, the Rockets used a three-run third inning to secure a 6-4 win. Sophomore infielder Haley Wynn and senior outfielder Katie Janiga each led the Cardinals with two runs apiece.

Toledo took the first of two on Saturday with another 6-4 victory. The Rockets scored five runs in the fourth inning to separate from the Cardinals after being down 2-1. Senior infielder Stacy Payton led the Cardinals with two RBI in the losing effort.

In game two, Ball State scored its most runs since April 4 (16 vs Central Michigan) in the 14-5 win. After falling behind 5-2, the Cardinals scored nine runs in the third inning. Ball State had eight different players score, including two scores from junior outfielder Faith Hensley. She finished the game 4-for-4 with three runs and three RBI.

Ball State scored three runs in the fifth inning to pull away. After missing the previous eight games to injury, junior infielder Amaia Daniel connected on a walk-off home run.

“(Daniel) at bat has been huge for us all year,” head coach Lacy Wood said. “She has been in different parts of the lineup, but always finds a way to get things done. Her ability to really dial it in has come up huge for us, not just this weekend, but consistently throughout the year, so it feels good to have her back.”

Cardinals junior Amaia Daniel throws the ball to home 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

In Sunday’s series finale, both teams scored three runs in the first inning to tie it up at 3-3. 

The score remained tied until the fourth inning, when Toledo freshman infielder Jenna Kroll connected on a home run to extend the lead to 4-3.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Daniel blasted her third home run of the weekend to left field to tie the game and send it into an extra inning. 

“I think the first couple games of the series we were trying to do too much offensively,” Wood said. “The last two games, we went back to playing gritty, determined, and having a lot of energy.” 

After two hits from Kennedy Wynn and H. Wynn in the extra inning, Hensley hit a walk-off RBI single that advanced K.Wynn to home for the game clinching score. 

Graduate student pitcher Alyssa Rothwell relieved senior pitcher Darcie Huber midway through the fourth inning. On her senior day, Rothwell held the Rockets to only one hit in 14 at bats, including eight strikeouts. 

“That’s what you want from your senior leaders,” Wood said. “(Rothwell) has been really consistent for us, and she came in and did exactly what we needed her to do, which allowed us to come away with the win.”

Ball State returns to action Tuesday, May 4, against Northern Illinois in a home doubleheader. First pitch is 1 p.m. 

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


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