Mount Pleasant, Mich.- Central Michigan Softball welcomes Ball State and Miami for its final home stand of the season. The Chippewas (25-14, 11-3 MAC) have gone 8-2 at Margo Jonker Stadium this season, with both losses coming in extra innings. With a sweep of the Cardinals on Friday, April 26, Central Michigan would tied with BSU for the top spot in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
Senior Macy Merchant comes into this weekend with a .405 batting average, one of three hitters in the MAC with an average over .400. Merchant is pace to set new personal bests in hits and stolen bases, currently with 53 hits and 17 stolen bases. She has hit .469 in conference games this season, and has a team-high 23 hits against MAC opponents.
Senior Brogan Darwin has taken over in left field and added depth to the Chippewa lineup. Over the past 10 games, Darwin is hitting .308 with two multi-hit games out of the eight-spot in the lineup. She hit her ninth career homerun last weekend at home against Toledo on April 21 and had a hit against Michigan.
Senior Kara Dornbos enters the final home stand 7-1 over her last eight starts with an ERA of 2.28 on the season. Against conference opponents, she is 6-3 with three shutouts and an ERA of 1.83.
The Scouting Report:
Ball State Cardinals (30-13, 13-1 MAC) • Friday, April 26 at 1 p.m./3 p.m.
Ball State comes to Mount Pleasant with the best overall and conference record in the MAC. The Cardinals suffered their first MAC loss last weekend in game one against Miami, 3-1. Ball State recovered with a 6-0 victory in game two and a 5-2 win against Indiana on Tuesday, April 23. Jennifer Gilbert leads the Cardinals at the plate with a .478 average and 58 RBIs. She has 19 homeruns on the season. Ball State has five batters over .300 for the season, two over .400. Nicole Steinbach is 12-8 in the circle this season and has an ERA of 2.33. Central Michigan dropped two games to the Cardinals last season, 4-0 and 9-6.
Miami RedHawks (17-24, 10-4 MAC) • Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m./Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m.
Miami has won five of its last seven contests, handing Ball State its first MAC loss last weekend. The RedHawks currently sit atop the MAC East Division by one game over Kent State (21-17, 11-5 MAC). Kayla Ledbetter leads Miami with a .371 batting average and 28 RBIs. As a team, the RedHawks are hitting .277, fourth in the conference. Paige Myers leads Miami with 8 wins in the circle this season, and has an ERA of 4.44. Before coming to Mount Pleasant for a Saturday-Sunday series, the RedHawks will travel to Ypsilanti for a doubleheader against Eastern Michigan (12-29, 2-12 MAC). Last time Central Michigan and Miami met was in the 2012 MAC Tournament finals. The RedHawks swept the Chippewas in the finals, 2-0 and 4-0.