Softball sweeps Ball State, clinches share of MAC West title

Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, senior pitcher Rachael Knapp ended her final game in Margo Jonker stadium doing what she does best — striking batters out.

With that last pitch, Knapp picked up her sixth strikeout of the game, ensuring the three game sweep of the no. 2 team out of the West in Ball State after winning the first game of the afternoon 11-3. 

Head coach Margo Jonker expressed her satisfaction with Knapp's performance over the course of the year, crediting her work ethic and drive while mourning over the fact her strikeout machine's career is quickly coming to an end.

"Rachael made a commitment over the summer that she was going to out work everybody and be a leader," said head coach Margo Jonker. "Knapp's strikeouts, of course, we'll miss a lot (next year)."

CMU's win cemented the program's first Mid-American conference West championship since 2008, which Jonker said felt like an entire career ago.

"That's a long time, like a career," Jonker said. "The kids really bought in this year, and last year was tough so I think none of us wanted to deal with that again. 

Late in game one however, CMU was in no position at all to collect the West crown as they trailed 1-3 in the bottom of the sixth.

Ball State would go on to walk a total of six batters in that single inning, allowing Chippewa batters to score 10 runs off five hits, triggering a mercy, awarding CMU the 11-3 win.

"I don't know if I've ever seen that many walks on the Division I level," Jonker said. "They gave us a big jump and then we got some key hits after that."

CMU improves to 34-13 overall and 16-5 in the MAC with the two wins. They will close out conference play at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday and Thursday with games starting at 3 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.