CMU softball splits with Ball State to open series


Central Michigan freshman catcher/utility player Carly Sleeman runs across second base during a softball game against Buffalo, Friday, April 12, in Margo Jonker Stadium. 

In the top of the seventh with the bases loaded for Ball State, freshman pitcher Brooklyn Compau looked to secure the win for Central Michigan softball as it held the one run lead. 

After back-to-back strikeouts, Compau had to get through one more batter to secure the win. With the 3-2 count and two outs, Compau delivered again in the big moment with a strikeout, giving the Chippewas the 4-3 win in game one against the Cardinals. 

“Coming into that situation, perfect opportunity for her to kind of settle in,” head coach McCall Salmon said. “... Exactly what we needed in a high pressure situation. So, to see her kind of shine, it's kind of what we knew she could do all year and just needed her to prove it.” 

Ball State pitcher Francys King completed a perfect game in the second matchup of the series as CMU went on to lose 8-0 in game two, splitting the double-header on Saturday. 

Central Michigan moves to 16-30 overall and 13-11 in conference play. 

The day before the series, the Chippewas secured a spot in the Mid-American Conference tournament as they currently sit as the fifth seed. 

The Cardinals had a lot to play for in the series as they were fighting for their own spot in the tournament, sitting in sixth coming into the matchup. 

Game 1

The Chippewas struck first in the bottom of the first as junior Allyssa Hollo doubled to left field, scoring senior center fielder Abbey Tolmie. CMU kept the scoring going on the next at-bat when senior right fielder Michaleigh Vallimont hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to two. 

Freshman designated hitter Keira Tolmie joined the scoring party with her ninth double of the season, scoring Hollo and putting the Chippewas up 3-0. 

“I think us already having birth into the tournament, our goal is just to play loose and have fun,” Salmon said. “And you can kind of see that approach from them right from the beginning. Anytime you can jump on a team early, you're setting yourself up to be successful.” 

Ball State got on the board in the top of the third off of a double that cut its deficit to two. 

Looking to respond, freshman catcher Carly Sleeman got CMU going with a lead off double to begin the bottom of the third. However, the threat didn’t last long as the Cardinals retired the next three batters to leave Sleeman stranded. 

Sleeman ended the game going 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. 

With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Sleeman walked to score freshman Grace Koenig who hit a double to open up the inning. The run pushed the Chippewas’ lead to three. 

The Cardinals also loaded the bases in the next inning, however, Sleeman continued her big day. This time on the defensive side with a diving play behind the plate to move to two outs on the inning. The next at-bat ended in a run for Ball State when senior pitcher Grace Lehto walked in a run to make the score 4-2. 

“I believe Ball State had 86 or 87 stolen bases on the year. Besides that double steal at the end, that's the only time they attempted (to steal),” Salmon said. “And I just think that shows the reputation Carly (Sleeman) has in this conference with her arm, but not only with her arm, but stealing strikes behind the plate and then, just a consistent offensive force for us.” 

BSU scored another run in the next inning off of an RBI double from pinch hitter Jessica Hoffman to get the Cardinals within one.

With the bases loaded and CMU holding the slim one run lead, Compau came up with three-straight strikeouts to get the save. The clutch performance from Compau secured the 4-3 win for the Chippewas. 

Lehto secured the win in the circle, giving up three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. 

Game 2

King completed the perfect game as she held the Chippewas to no hits and no walks with three strikeouts in five innings pitched as the Cardinals won 8-0 in game two. 

“We barreled up a lot of balls,” Salmon said. “We hit them hard and you know, hats off to their pitcher and their team. They made some good plays. … I told them it's not like we were swinging and missing a ton, putting the ball in play and sometimes that's how it works.”

The Cardinals got on the board first to start the game as junior catcher McKayla Timmons hit a home run to left-center field. The home run was Timmons 23rd home run on the season as she ranks third in the nation in home runs. 

It was the only run the Cardinals got in the first inning as Vallimont completed the double play with an out at home plate after BSU threatened by loading the bases. 

Ball State extended its lead in the top of the second with an RBI single from senior third baseman Haley Wynn to give the Cardinals the 2-0 lead. 

The Cardinals added one more run in the top of the fourth with a RBI double from Wynn to secure her second RBI in the game and extend their lead to three. Ball State added five more runs in the inning to go up 8-0. 

The Cardinals found success at the plate securing 10 hits in the matchup. 

CMU will have a short turnaround as it faces off against Ball State on Sunday to finish out the final regular season series at noon for Senior Day. 

“We got eight seniors that have poured their hearts and souls into this program and we're looking forward to celebrating them tomorrow,” Salmon said.