Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Junior Brittney Horan throws to first against Detroit on April 3 at Margo Jonker Stadium. Horan hit a homerun and had two RBIs in Central Michigan's loss to Ball State in extra innings on April 26.
Chippewas Fire Back In Game Two But Come Up Short

Mount Pleasant, Mich. - Central Michigan Softball dropped its series against Mid-American Conference leader Ball State, 12-0 and 6-4. After struggling both in the field and at the plate in game one, the Chippewas came firing back in game two, taking the Cardinals to 10.0 innings.

Game two was an intense, extra inning affair with Central Michigan taking an early lead.  Sophomore Trista Cox reached on a throwing error and advanced to second as the ball trickled to the Cardinal’s dugout. With two out and Cox on second, junior Brittney Horan hit a single up the middle to score the run.

Bickel answered for Ball State (32-13, 15-1 MAC) though in the fifth inning, hitting a one-out homerun over the center field wall.

In the bottom of the seventh, Senior Macy Merchant singled to lead off for the Chippewas and advanced to third on a two-out single from Darwin. With the home crowd cheering behind home plate, Cox hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by a diving Cihlar to extend the game to extra innings.

The Cardinals wasted no time in extra innings, putting two runners on with two outs. Cilhar, after making the game saving catch, hit a single to centerfield to be the first runner on. She advanced to second after a pitch from junior Chelsea Sundberg hit Stuedemann. Gilbert put Ball State up 4-1 with a homerun to left center field.

Freshman Katelyn Rentschler got Central Michigan going after Sexauer grounded out to third. Horan brought the Chippewas roaring back with a homerun over the left field wall, bringing it back to a one run ballgame. Another Cardinal error allowed for Zahrn to reach first, and she advanced on a ground out from Merchant. Senior Summer Knoop, with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, hit a groundball that hopped between the shortstop’s legs to score Zahrn, tying the game at 4-4.

Ball State continued its offensive prowess, opening the tenth inning with a single from Cihlar up the middle. A double from Steudemann scored the runner, and Steudemann came into score on an RBI sac-fly from Rager to centerfield.

The Chippewas were unable to respond, only putting one base runner on in the bottom of the inning.

Merchant went 3-6 from the plate with a double, her fifth of the season. Horan had three RBIs off of two hits and a homerun. Darwin went 2-5 and pushed her hit streak to now five games. Sundberg pitched all 10.0 innings, giving up six runs and striking out five batters.

Cihlar went 3-5 in game two with two runs for the Cardinals. Carpenter was 2-5 with a double. Gilbert and Bickel each contributed a homerun. Schifferdecker started in the circle, pitching 7.1 innings and surrendering 10 hits. Sanders closed the game, pitching 2.2 innings and giving up no runs.

Ball State took control right off the bat in game one, coming out and scoring six runs in the top of the first. The inning started with singles by Loren Cihlar and Hanne Stuedemann. With runners on the corners and no one out, Jennifer Gilbert knocked a double to put the Cardinals up 2-0. Senior Kara Dornbos was able to rebound by striking out two consecutive batters. Ball State was able to load the bases with two outs, bringing Selena Reyna to the plate. She emptied the bases with a deep shot over the left field wall.

Ball State continued to pour it on in the second inning, putting its leadoff hitter on base with a single up the middle. Junior Morgan Yuncker came in for Dornbos, and struck out the first batter she faced.  She was unable to duplicate the effort on batter number two, giving up a two run homer to Taylor Rager to left center.

In the top of the third inning, a CMU error and a walk put two runners on with one out for the Cardinals. Yuncker struck out Gilbert for out number two, but walked Rager to load the bases. Carpenter hit a base-emptying double to deep left field to put Ball State up 11-0.

The Cardinals hit their third homerun of the game in the fourth inning, this time a solo shot from Stuedemann to left field.  

Junior Cory DeLamielleure, senior Brogan Darwin and junior Raechel Zahrn accounted for Central Michigan’s (25-16, 11-5 MAC) only three hits of the game. The Chippewas left a total of four runners on base. Dornbos started in the circle, striking out two batters and giving up five hits. Yuncker pitched 4.0 innings in relief, giving up five runs and striking out two.

Steudemann finished game one 3-3 with four runs and an RBI. Gilbert went 2-3 with two doubles and two RBIs. Nicole Steinbach pitched a complete game, giving up three hits and striking out six batters.

Central Michigan will be back in action tomorrow, April 27, for game one against Miami (Ohio). First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Margo Jonker Stadium.