After having its first home game of the season rained out and this week’s matchup rescheduled due to weather, Ball State softball (24-11, 6-2 MAC) opened up its series with Kent State (18-14, 4-4 MAC) Friday in Muncie.
Sophomore Madi Huck held the Cardinals to only two runs in the first matchup to give the Golden Flashes the 5-2 win, but the Cardinals stormed back in the second game for a 15-7 win.
Huck had the Cardinals number for the majority of the first outing as she allowed only two runs on seven hits throughout the game and struck out three. With the third game of the series in less than 24 hours, the team is prepared to see Huck again.
“We have to be much more disciplined at the plate,” head coach Megan Ciolli Bartlett said. “She did a great job of getting us ahead in the count and to chase that curve. We need to find a way to combat that to not force us inside and see if we can turn on a few balls.”
One of the problems that the Cardinals faced in batting in the first matchup was the amount of tension on the batters. Only one of the Cardinals two runs was batted in, in the form of a solo home run from junior Annie Robinson.
“We perform well when we have sort of a lightness to us, when we’re free swinging and when we move quickly, and I didn’t see that,” Bartlett said. “Every one of our players looked like they had the weight of the world on their shoulders. We just need to find a way to relax and breathe a little bit and pick a better pitch.”
That is what the Cardinals did in the second game as the bats came alive. Sophomore Hailey Dominique, senior Maddie Labrador and Robinson all had home runs in the Cardinals 15-7 finish. This included a seven-run third inning that gave the Cardinals a ten-point advantage by the end of the onslaught.
“After the first game, we went into the team room and realized that we just needed to relax,” Dominique said. “After we realized that, we went out there and just had fun. The second game was just overall a lot of fun.”
Kent State avoided the eight-run mercy rule early by scoring four runs in the fifth inning, but freshman Stacy Payton and sophomore Kennedy Wynn scored to end the game in the sixth inning.
The Cardinals will close out their series with the Golden Flashes in the rubber match tomorrow at 2 p.m.