In a close battle between the top teams in the West and East Divisions in the Mid-American Conference, Ball State softball (25-17, 9-1 MAC) went 2-0 in today's doubleheader against Ohio (25-10, 6-4 MAC).
With a 3-2 victory over the Bobcats in the first game, and an extra-inning 3-2 victory in the second matchup, the Cardinals now hold an eight-game win streak and handed Ohio its first loss while at home this season.
Junior right-handed pitcher Carolyn Wilmes had a day on the mound, grabbing her 11th win for a complete game. Wilmes recorded a career-high nine strikeouts today.
Although recording two strikeouts in the first inning, Wilmes and the Cardinals' defense weren't able to hold off the Bobcat's offense. What started with a a pair of singles and walks ended with a 2-0 Ohio lead at the end of the first inning.
Junior right-handed pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey was in the circle for the Bobcats. Despite picking up a loss today, Dorsey recorded 11 strikeouts to make her the first player in Ohio softball history to reach 1,000 strikeouts.
Kent State (5-4)
Bowling Green (5-5)
Ball State (9-1)
Central Michigan (7-2)
Northern Illinois (4-5)
Western Michigan (3-7)
Eastern Michigan (2-8)
The Cardinals were able to get their bats going in the top of the third when junior Brittany Hopper lead off with a double to put the tying run at the plate. Sophomore Olivia Huffman moved Hopper over to third, while freshman Haley Dominique had a sacrifice fly to put the Cardinals on the board.
Wilmes then struck out the side in the bottom half of the inning, to put Ball State back at the plate. Freshman Janae Hogg walked on four pitches to start off the inning. However, the Cardinals failed to capitalize on the lead off walk, as Dorsey retired the next three batters.
Huffman started out the fifth inning getting hit by the pitch, for the league-leading ninth time this season. Junior second baseman Maddy Labrador got in on the action, singling to center to put runners at the corners. Dominique tied the game at two with an RBI single and senior Rachel Houck added the Cardinal's third consecutive single. She went on to draw a wild throw when stealing second base, allowing Dominique to score to take a 3-2 lead.
Ohio's offense stranded baserunners in the last two innings, but failed to score, giving Ball State a 3-2 victory.
Dorsey remained on the mound for Ohio in the second game, totaling for 15 innings on the day. Adding 12 more strikeouts to put her at 24 on the day, Dorsey picked up her second loss of the day.
The Bobcats cracked a scoreless game in the bottom of the third when Huber led off with a double to center field. Huber advanced to second on a ground ball and to third on a single from sophomore Morgan Geno. A wild pitch from freshman right-handed pitcher Darcie Huber gave the Bobcat's a 1-0 lead.
In an effort to get the run back, Houck started the fourth inning off with a double to left field. Putting herself in scoring position, junior Danae King blasted a two-run shot over the left field fence to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
Ohio rallied in the seventh inning, with an RBI double from Geno to tie the game 2-2. However, Ohio stranded two base runners to bring Ball State up in the top of the eighth. A leadoff walk and a passed ball put the Cardinals in scoring position. Freshman Kennedy Wynn singled and advanced to second on the throw to home which was not in time, allowing Ball State to take a 3-2 lead.
Freshman right hander Alyssa Rothwell came in to hold the Bobcats and get her second save of the season. Huber started the game at the mound for the Cardinals and had four strikeouts in seven innings, while only allowing two earned runs.
The Cardinals held the Bobcats through seven innings to go 2-0 on the day. Ball State now leads Ohio by two games for the number one spot in the MAC.
Ball State will wrap up the three-game series at Ohio tomorrow with a single game slated to start at noon.