» THIS WEEK IN BALL STATE SOFTBALL: The Ball State softball team enters the final week of the 2022 regular season with six games on the docket … BSU starts the week Tuesday with a scheduled 5 p.m. first pitch at league-leading Miami … The Cardinals are also slated to play a 1 p.m. doubleheader in Oxford on Wednesday, before hosting Akron for a three-game series Saturday and Sunday.
» WHERE WE STAND: Ball State enters the week ranked fifth in the Mid-American Conference standings with its 13-10 league record … Unfortunately, the Cardinals are currently the first team out in the race to make the four-team 2022 MAC Tournament hosted by the No. 1 seed … Miami leads the league with a 20-3 mark, needing just one win to claim the regular season title … Central Michigan is second at 15-8, while Ohio (14-8) and Bowling Green (13-9) round out the top four … Akron (12-14) is right behind Ball State in sixth.
» WHO THE TOP TEAMS ARE PLAYING: While the Cardinals are currently outside looking in, they can still play their way into the tournament with some wins and additional help … Here’s a look at the remaining schedules for the top six teams:
|Current Seed/Team||May 3-4||May 7-8|
|No. 1 Miami||hosts Ball State||at Central Michigan|
|No. 2 Central Michigan||at Bowling Green||hosts Miami|
|No. 3 Ohio||at Toledo||hosts Western Michigan|
|No. 4 Bowling Green||hosts Central Michigan||at Kent State|
|No. 5 Ball State||at Miami||hosts Akron|
|No. 6 Akron||BYE||at Ball State|
» HOW TO FOLLOW: Live stats and live video will be provided of all six of Ball State’s games this week via the hosts institutions … Fans can find the links on the Softball schedule page of BallStateSports.com … Fans can also get updates by following the team on Twitter – @BallStateSB.
BALL STATE NEWS & NOTES:
» PERFECTION: Freshman pitcher Angelina Russo threw Ball State’s first recorded perfect game in the nightcap of the April 20 doubleheader versus Western Michigan … In helping lead the Cardinals to a 5-0 victory, Russo retired all 21 batters she faced over the 7.0 inning game … She struck out 10 total batters, including eight of WMU’s first nine … She also helped herself out on defense by registering a pair of assists, including fielding a soft grounder for out 20 of 21.
» NEAR PERFECTION: Ball State’s pitchers had flirted with perfect games before Angelina Russo’s gem, falling a walk shy of perfection on four occasions, most recently in a combined no-hitter by Aeshia Miles (3.0 innings) and Alyssa Rothwell (2.0 innings) in a 15-0 (5) victory over St. Bonaventure on March 17, 2018 … BSU has also been both an error shy and a hit batter shy of perfection as well.
» HOW ABOUT NO HITTERS: In addition to being the first recorded perfect game in program history, Angelina Russo’s effort marked just the 17th time BSU’s pitchers have surrendered no hits in a game dating back through the 1980 season.
» SHUTOUTS ARE GOOD TOO: Including Angelina Russo’s perfect game versus Western Michigan (April 20), Ball State pitchers have thrown four complete game shutouts this season … Junior pitcher Deborah Jones picked up Ball State’s first shutout in the 11-0 (5) win at Northern Illinois (April 6) … Jones also preceded Russo’s perfect game with her second shutout of the season in a 5-0 victory in the opening game of the April 20 doubleheader versus WMU … Jones added one more shutout, limiting Buffalo to two hits and one walk, while striking out nine, in a 4-0 victory April 24.
» 200 CAREER Ks: With her fourth of six strikeouts in the April 20 win over WMU, Deborah Jones also became just the 15th pitcher in program history to register 200 career strikeouts … Jones enters the Miami series ranked 15th on BSU’s all-time list with 223 strikeouts, while her 5.73 strikeouts-per-seven innings ranks sixth.
» BEHIND THE PLATE: One constant in all four of Ball State’s shutout wins this season, including the first perfect game in program history, has been senior catcher Delanie Johnson … She’s caught all four games, leading the squad with 29 putouts to go along with a pair of assists … Johnson also lent a hand on offense, which out-scored opponents 25-0 over the four games, by tying for team-high honors with five RBIs and adding a double and home run.
» VIDEO GAME NUMBERS: Senior outfielder Faith Hensley has picked up right where she left off last season, leading the Ball State offense with a .420 batting average this season … The mark currently ranks third in the MAC and 34th among all NCAA Division I players … She has reached base safely in 43 of the 46 games she has played, including via a hit in 36 contests … Hensley leads the MAC in walks (32) and on base percentage (.545), while ranking among the top five in the league in: hits (58, second), home runs (17, second), slugging percentage (.870, second), triples, (3, second), runs scored (46, third) and RBIs (39, fifth).
» ON BALL STATE’S CAREER CHARTS: A 2021 NFCA All-Great Lakes Region First Team selection, Faith Hensley enters the Miami series ranked first in program history with a .503 career on base percentage … She is also second on BSU’s all-time charts in both batting average (.395) and slugging percentage (.739) … Over 314 career at bats, Hensley has tallied 124 total hits, including 25 home runs, 23 doubles and five triples … She has also drawn 58 walks and been hit by a pitch 11 times.
» HENSLEY GOING YARD: Faith Hensley’s 25 career home runs currently tie for eighth on BSU’s career charts with her 17 in 2022 ranking as the fourth-most in a season in program history … The only player with more home runs in a single season in a Ball State uniform is two-time All-American and 2021 Olympic medalist Jennifer Gilbert (23 in 2013, 19 in 2014 and 18 in 2012).
» GOING YARD – PART 2: Ball State’s sluggers have blasted 52 total home runs this season, with 11 different players getting into the action … The newest addition to the Ball State Softball #BombSquad came April 23 at Buffalo when freshman Emma Richards blasted her first career home run in the opening game of a doubleheader versus Buffalo … She wasted little time picking up her second blast, adding another in the nightcap against the Bulls.
» ON THE BASE PATHS: Sophomore outfielder Remington Ross enters the Miami series ranked third in the league with 20 stolen bases … She started the season a perfect 13-for-13 before being narrowly thrown out when attempting to steal third versus Kent State (April 1) … Since then, Ross has gone 7-for-7, pushing her to 20-for-21 on the year … Ross has also shown off her speed at the plate with eight bunt singles so far this year.
» MAGIC EIGHT BALL?: Senior shortstop Amaia Daniel enters the Miami series riding an eight-game hitting streak, which ties as Ball State’s longest of the season … Over the last eight games, Daniel is batting .370 with 10 hits including a pair of home runs … She also has four RBIs and four runs scored during the streak.
» MORE ON THE NUMBER EIGHT: Freshman Emma Richards has reached base safely in each of BSU’s last eight games, including by a hit in six of the eight contests … She leads the team with a .480 batting average over the span, including two doubles and two home runs … Richards has also scored a team-high six runs over the last eight games, while also leading the squad in slugging percentage (.800) and on base percentage (.552).
» TURNING TWO: On the defensive front, the Cardinals added three more double plays in last weekend’s series versus Bowling Green to enter the week tied for sixth with 25 double plays turned this season … Ball State’s 0.53 double plays-per-game average is seventh among the 293 ranked NCAA Division I programs.
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