Story Courtesy of Ball State Media Relations
AKRON, Ohio - The Ball State softball team defeated Northern Illinois 16-1 in its second game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament Thursday at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio. Freshmen Amanda Carpenter (Santee, Calif./Santana) and Sadie Robertson (Fenton, Mo./Rockwood Summit) each notched home runs in the Cardinals scoring frenzy and Robertson's was a grand slam hit in the top of the seventh.
Elizabeth Milian (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) is credited with the win, which marks the 39th of the season for Ball State's four-year ace.
The win continues Ball State's path through the winner's bracket, and its third game of the tournament marks a top-team showdown as the No. 2 seeded Cardinals take on the No. 1 seed Kent State Friday at 5 p.m.. The Golden Flashes defeated Central Michigan 4-2 Thursday and Bowling Green 8-0 Wednesday. In the regular season, Kent State swept the Cardinals in two games that were both decided by a single run in Kent, Ohio.
Carpenter, a MAC All-Freshman Team selection, was three-for-five at bat against the Huskies and tallied three RBI on a single, triple and home run. She has totaled seven RBI and five hits in the tournament.
The Cardinals took an early first inning lead when Carpenter reached on a fielding error that advanced her to second base and drove in Lisa Rozanski (Tampa, Fla./Alonso) who was walked by the Huskies starting pitcher, Morgan Bittner.
Neither team would score again until the third inning when Northern Illinois' Dani Parrish hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Kate Welch, pinch running for Alex Wulbecker who opened the half inning with a double. This was the first run allowed by Milian in four appearances.
Alyssa Collins (Fortville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) notched the first of four hits in the top of the fourth for the Cardinals with a single through the left side and Kate Wilczynski (Tucson, Ariz./Canyon del Oro) and Meredith Nash (Peculiar, Mo./Raymore-Peculiar) followed with singles of their own. Nash's hit drove in Collins to give Ball State a one run advantage. Then, although Jessie Ware (Phoenix, Ariz./Hamilton) struck out in her first at bat and grounded out to the third baseman in her second showing, the Huskies intentionally walked the MAC Player of the Year to load the bases in the top of the fourth. With two outs in the inning, Rozanski followed with a single that sent Wilczynski home.
Milian struck out two Huskies to escape the top of the inning with two runners left on base. Ball State led 3-1 at the end of the fourth.
Carpenter opened the fifth inning with a home run and was followed by a Collins' single, but the Cardinals would not score again until the sixth when they scored four runs on five hits.
Hannah Zimmerman (Indianapolis, Ind./Scecina Memorial), pinch hitting for Sadie Robertson (Fenton, Mo./Rockwood Summit), started the inning with a double - which marks the freshman's first extra base hit of the season. Ware and Rozanski each followed with a single and Robertson and Ware scored on a fielding error by Parrish, the Huskies' centerfielder. Carpenter followed with a triple to drive in Rozanski and then scored on a wild pitch.
The Ball State offense returned to the field in the seventh and scored eight more runs on six hits, while leaving no runners on base. With two outs and the bases loaded, Robertson slugged her second home run of the season to earn four RBI.
Milian wrapped up the game by striking out two batters. The ace has struck out 10 batters per game in her last four starts on the mound and has tallied 275 strikeouts this season. The Huskies single run is the first Milian has allowed in 24.2 innings in the circle.
The Cardinals are now 41-14 this season and look to notch their 42nd win Thursday against the team with which they share the 2010 MAC Regular Season title, Kent State.