CMU softball defeats Ball State to stay alive in MAC Tournament
In a win or go home situation, sophomore designated hitter Allyssa Hollo started the momentum early for Central Michigan softball as she ripped a base clearing shot down the left field line in the first inning against Ball State and give the Chippewas the 3-0 lead.
CMU held onto its lead and energy throughout the game to defeat the Cardinals 4-1 on Friday to stay alive in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
“I just wanted to do this for my team,” Hollo said about her mentality going up to the plate. “Like everyone had my back and you could feel the love in the dugout, and I just felt so relaxed because my team was there for me.
“After seeing her change up, I knew that if I was gonna get another one, I was going to be able to recognize it and hit it and that's exactly what I did. I was so happy when ... it dropped … everybody just exploded with energy. It was just a great time and just seeing all my teammates cheering for me and like how I was screaming back at them, just the love that we have for each other, it's amazing.”
With the win, CMU moves on to the next round where it will face off against the loser of No. 1 Miami and No. 2 Ohio.
“They (the team) know the task at hand,” head coach McCall Salmon said. “As simple as we keep it, and we stay within our one pitch focus. But it's going to take everyone, we got to stay together. And I thought they really did a great job responding from yesterday to today, and we're surviving in advance mode right here.”
CMU redshirt senior Kaitlyn Bean registered the win in the circle to move to 11-7 on the season.
“The MAC tournament is awesome,” Bean said. “It's an adrenaline rush in the best way. I really loved how we came out firing in the beginning and from there, I just wanted to get the win.”
In seven innings pitched, Bean let up one run on six hits and had six strikeouts.
“We knew what Bean was going to bring us on the mound and she was gonna give us everything,” Salmon said. “She did a great job last time she stepped on the mound against Ball State, so we knew it was the right matchup and she just continued to be in the one pitch focus and take care of business one at bat at a time.”
Hollo secured a multi-hit game in the matchup with the early double and a single in the fifth inning. Hollo led the team in RBIs with three. Tolmie also had two hits for CMU, going 2-for-3 with two singles and one run scored.
Following a 1-2-3 inning in the top half of the first inning, the Chippewas got things going early in the bottom half when Tolmie led off with a single followed by two free base at bats to load the bases with no outs. Coming out of the clean-up spot, Hollo delivered with a 3-RBI double to give CMU a 3-0 lead.
“I think yesterday not being able to push a run across, setting the tone for us offensively in that first inning … I was just really proud of ... our approaches at the plate,” Salmon said. “Hollo had a huge hit to clear the bases, and you could really see our energy pick up and allow Kaitlyn Bean to settle in.”
The Chippewas continued the momentum into the second inning following an infield single from Tolmie leading to a throwing error from the BSU pitcher to score sophomore shortstop Maddie Springer and extend the lead to four.
After being held scoreless for four innings, the Cardinals got on the board in the top of the fifth inning following a RBI double from graduate student Amaia Daniel to cut CMU’s lead to three.
Both teams were held scoreless for the remainder of the game and Bean was able to secure three-straight outs in the top of the seventh for the Chippewas to move onto the next round.
The Chippewas will have a short break as they will face off against the loser of the matchup between No. 1 Miami and No. 2 Ohio at approximately 5:30 p.m. tonight (Friday).