Ball State softball (23-10, 5-1 MAC) opens play at home against Kent State (17-13, 3-3 MAC) this weekend. After sweeping Akron on the road last weekend and combining for 30 runs in a two-day span, the team looks forward to competing at home.
The Cardinals have been itching to get home after being on the road for the entirety of the season up until this weekend and dealing with weather cancelations. While the weather has been a damper, the team has taken advantage of the situation.
“Our game being rained out on Tuesday allowed us to give our pitchers a break,” head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett said. “We only have three pitchers pitching actively and [healthily] at this point, so that was kind of the silver lining in that situation. Aeshia has also been pitching a lot of innings as well, so we're looking to give her arm a break as well.”
While the pitching unit may be small for the Cardinals this season, they are mighty, especially junior Aeshia Miles. This week, Miles picked up her third MAC West Pitcher of the Week award of the season. This came after Miles struck out 19 batters over the course of two games last weekend in Akron, to pick up her 13th and 14th wins of the season.
“Believing in the process and having trust in the vision our coaches have had definitely benefited my performance,” Miles said. “I just need to stay focused, take it game-by-game and pitch-by-pitch.”
While the Flashes sit at a .500 record, it has no trouble connecting on offense. Senior Holly Speers has been a force to reckon with, as she has led the team in runs with 29 and hits with 39. Speers also leads the Mid-American Conference in batting averages, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and walks.
“Their hitters are going to be tough,” Bartlett said. “Holly Speers is absolutely legit and she is a stud. We’re going to have to find a way to get Speers out, period. We know what we're up against. We just need to find a way to execute what we’re capable of and we’ll be in good shape.”
With the team playing its first game of the season at home, it is looking to work off of the excitement, but stay calm in its play as well.
“We need to stay within ourselves to be successful this weekend,” Miles said. “We’re playing at home, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. But if we focus on what we need to do, we will have a lot of success.”
First pitch is set to leave the circle at 3 p.m. Friday at First Merchants Ballpark Complex.