Ball State started its season in the Blazer Bash tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. In its last game of the weekend, sophomore starting pitcher Angelina Russo threw her second no-hitter and Ball State’s 18th since 1980.
“It feels like just any other moment,” she said. “We still have more games to go. It's exciting but I didn't realize that it was a no-hitter until other people told me.”
Head coach Lacy Schurr believes that this special moment is good for the Cardinals going forward.
“It brings us back to Muncie with a lot of confidence,” she said. “You know, when Lina [Angelina] is on the mound, you know, she's gonna keep us very competitive. So, you know, I think it's just a good place to build off of and having that in the first weekend is pretty impressive.”
The Cardinals finished the tournament with two wins and three losses.
“I think we learned a lot about ourselves,” head coach Lacy Shurr said. “You know, everybody wants to go 5-0 their first weekend out. But you know, like I told the girls when we're evaluating our shells, you learn more from losses than wins.”
Ball State opened the weekend with a doubleheader against Samford. They were hitless going to the top of the third inning, but then Senior infielder Haley Wynn walked up to the plate.
With the day also being her birthday, she said she had one wish: to win. She quickly fell behind with two strikes in the at-bat. On the third pitch, she launched a solo home run for the Cardinals first hit of the season.
“It honestly felt amazing,” she said. “I felt kind of like when I was telling coach, I finally understood trusting the process. You work every single day in practice to feel that moment.”
That sparked the Cardinals' offense as they won the game 5-3. Schurr believes that Wynn is a big factor in the team's attitude.
“She's just gonna be a spark of fun for us,” she said. “That's why we put her in the leadoff spot and she stayed there all weekend. She's a tone setter for us whether she's hitting the ball over the fence or just hitting the ball hard all over the field.”
Ball State would fall 8-7 in the second game of the doubleheader, which had to be decided in extra innings. They would be defeated in their next two to UAB 8-7 and 12-1. Fielding errors plagued the Cardinals throughout the losses. But Schurr is not worried about them going forward.
“I think we did a fairly decent job defensively,” Schurr said. “I think some of the errors came along the mental side, not necessarily the physical side. You know, we can play some good solid defense. We keep our heads about us and can be in the right spot at the right time.”
Some stat leaders over the weekend were Wynn with nine hits and fifth-year utility player Amaia Daniel with seven RBIs. As a whole, the Cardinals had 46 hits that included five home runs.
Ball State will head back home until its next game on Friday, Feb. 24. They play Bellarmine in their first game of the Velvet Milkman Invitational hosted by Murray State.