Home again: Chippewa softball falls to Ball State in first home game in almost two years
Central Michigan's previous home softball game seems like an eternity ago.
April 27, 2019. The Chippewas beat Ball State 10-8 on Senior Day and send that senior class out with one last victory at home.
CMU then had a full slate of home games at Margo Jonker Stadium set for last year — which was erased by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After waiting 706 days — almost a full two years — the Chippewas and Cardinals battled once again at Margo Jonker Stadium.
This time, however, the Cardinals earned the win — taking down the Chippewas 14-6 in Mid-American Conference action Friday.
CMU head coach McCall Salmon, coaching her first home game for the Chippewas, said having the first chance to coach at home was exciting.
Thinking about the small aspects of coaching at home was exciting for Salmon, too.
"(Having the) ability to wake up in your own bed," Salmon said. "The fan situation that we have, that (CMU) is allowing the parents and families having the opportunity for them to watch them.
"It's exciting, I loved the experience and it's nice to know that we have a lot more ahead of us this year."
Stacy Payton opened the scoring with a two-run double to left in the first inning. BSU carried a 3-0 lead after the first.
However, the second was a much different story. Haley Dominique singled up the middle to bump the lead to 4-0. The Cardinals added five more runs in the inning — including a bases-loaded walk and a three-run double from Faith Hensley — to jump out to a 9-0 lead after two innings.
Senior shortstop Morgan Gardner put the Chippewas on the board in the third with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring senior second baseman Abigail Niehaus.
CMU added three more runs — one on an error and a two-run triple from sophomore catcher Kelsey Alexander — in the third.
BSU padded its lead to 10-5 in the fifth with an RBI single from Kendall Fields. The Cardinals then added four in the seventh, amounting to a 14-5 lead to round out their scoring.
Junior first baseman Shannon Stein added a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to rip her third homer in as many games.
"(Stein has been) very impressive," Salmon said. "We know the type of hitter Shannon Stein is, and to see her start producing and that trickling over into game situations is exciting for our team but our ability to score runs."
Niehaus led the Chippewas with a pair of hits, while six Chippewas had one hit.
Ball State rifled 17 hits — including five extra base hits — and Payton leading with four. Three other Cardinals had two hits.
Freshman Grace Lehto (L, 3-8) allowed six runs on five hits, striking out two and walking three in 1 2/3 innings of work. Sophomore Katilyn Bean allowed seven runs on 10 hits, striking out four, issuing three walks and hit two batters in 4 1/3 innings. Junior Faith Howe allowed one run on two hits, striking out one in the seventh.
Tieghan Morio (W, 5-2) allowed five runs (three earned), striking out four and issuing two walks in five innings of work.
"We did not show the type of pitching staff we had today," Salmon said. "That's something (the coaching staff) challenged them with after the game, so I'll be excited to see how they react going into (Saturday)."
CMU and BSU continue the series with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday in Margo Jonker Stadium.
"It's a positive, we get to play again tomorrow," Salmon said. "In the grand scheme of things, it's one game. We've got to learn how to make adjustments, move forward and get the "W" tomorrow."
1st — BSU (2-0) Payton doubled to left, 2 RBI; Dominique and Lissy scored.
1st — BSU (3-0) Hensley doubled to left, RBI; Payton scored
2nd — BSU (4-0) Dominique singled up the middle, RBI; Daniel scored, Wynn to second.
2nd — BSU (5-0) Payton walked, RBI; Wynn scored, Dominique to third, Hogg to second
2nd — BSU (8-0) Hensley doubled to left center, 3 RBI; Payton, Hogg and Dominique scored
2nd — BSU (9-0) Johnson, D. singled up the middle, RBI; Hensley scored
3rd — CMU (9-1) Gardner flied out to right, SF, RBI; Niehaus scored, Knapp, S. to third, Tolmie to second
3rd — CMU (9-2) Bracamonte reached on error by 3B; Knapp, S. scored (unearned); Tolmie to third
3rd — CMU (9-4) Alexander tripled to right, 2 RBI; Anderson scored, Tolmie scored
4th — CMU (9-5) Tolmie reached on error by 2B; Acuna scored (unearned); Niehaus to third
5th — BSU (10-5) Fields singled to left, advanced to second, RBI; Eckerty scored, Magnifico advanced to second, out at third (LF to C to 3B)
7th — BSU (11-5) Magnifico doubled to left, RBI; Eckerty scored
7th — BSU (12-5) Fields doubled to left, RBI; Magnifico scored
7th — BSU (13-5) Dukeman singled to right, advanced to second, RBI; Fields scored; Payton advanced to third
7th — BSU (14-5) Armendariz flied out to left, SF, RBI; Payton scored
7th — CMU (14-6) Stein homered, RBI