Ball State (27-13, 5-3 MAC) took one out of two close games to avoid a sweep against Bowling Green (15-20, 3-7 MAC) at home Saturday.
The Cardinals found trouble in the first inning of the day when four runs crossed the plate for the Falcons. Senior Aeshia Miles struck out two and walked three to give Bowling Green an early lead. Miles threw 41 pitches while stranding two on base in the first inning alone. The Cardinals answered by loading the bases with no outs. However, a double play and a groundout ended the inning with two runners stranded on base.
“Honestly, with the way we swing the bats, we know we play knockout softball,” head coach Megan Ciolli-Bartlett said. “I don’t know if it really affects our hitters a ton. We are just trying to have good at-bats and get the ball in the air.”
The Cardinals got on the scoreboard with a two-out home run by senior Madison Lee in the second inning, her first home run of the season and her 10th in collegiate play.
Ball State’s engines kicked into gear in the third inning when the team closed the gap to one run. The Cardinals had the bases loaded with no outs once again and ended up stranding all three runners.
After giving up five runs, Miles went on to pitch five more scoreless innings to complete the game for the Cardinals. Her final line included five strikeouts and 116 pitches.
With its win in game one, Bowling Green officially won the three-game series against Ball State.
After a 30-minute break, action continued during the second game of the day. The Falcons were unable to get on base in the first, but the Cardinals kicked off their offensive efforts quickly.
Junior Haley Dominique hit a leadoff home run to right field on the third pitch in the bottom half of the first. This marked Dominique’s seventh home run of the season, good for the most on the Cardinal roster.
“Haley is dynamic,” Ciolli-Bartlett said. “To immediately get a run right away sets a great tone, and we have to continue to put the pressure on and follow her lead.”
On the defensive side, redshirt sophomore Darcie Huber retired six straight on the rubber before giving up a double in the third. Huber went on to record two strikeouts, one earned run and two hits in three innings pitched.
“I thought all of the pitchers threw really well in game three of the series,” Ciolli-Bartlett said. “We got a great performance from Darcie.”
The Falcons answered with a run of their own to tie the game at one in the third. The close matchup extended all the way to the bottom of the eighth when freshman Amaia Daniel tripled down the right field line to score Miles from first. This marked the second walk-off win for the Cardinals this season.
“I knew that I needed to make an adjustment in the box,” Daniel said. “I was really feeling good and confident in that last at-bat. I did what I could, and I drove it down the line.”
Contact Drew Pierce with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dpierce3cc.