MUNCIE, Ind. - - The Ball State softball team rallied for four two-out runs in the bottom of the second and cruised to a 7-4 win over Akron Saturday afternoon in Mid-American Conference action at the BSU Softball Complex.
The Cardinals (23-11 / 3-2 MAC) pounded out four doubles in the game, including a rally-sparking two bagger from senior shortstop Alison Mercado (Perris, Calif./Arizona Western College) to start the second inning rally.
Sophomore first baseman Taylor Rager (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeaster) led BSU at the plate, going 3-for-4 in the contest with two RBI. Junior center fielder Amanda Carpenter (Santee, Calif./Santana) added two hits, while also driving in a pair and scoring a run.
Senior pitcher Kim Mazzapica (Palm Harbor, Fla./East Lake) picked up her second win of the weekend, and improved to 13-3 on the year by limiting Akron (13-21-1 / 0-7 MAC) to four runs (three earned) on 10 hits over seven innings. She also struck out three batters.
Akron opened the scoring in the top of the second thanks to a sacrifice fly from Racheal Ratcliffe.
The bottom of the frame looked like it would go quickly for the Cardinals, but with two outs Mercado slashed a double to right-center field to spark a BSU rally. After junior catcher Sadie Robertson (Fenton, Mo./Rockwood Summit) drew a walk, sophomore left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) smashed her league-leading 13th double of the season off the top of the left-center field wall to drive in BSU's first run.
A pass ball would bring Robertson home from third, while a walk to senior designated player Amanda Montalto (Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde) put runners on the corners for Rager. Rager then connected for BSU's third double of the frame to drive in both runners and make the score 4-1.
Akron cut the BSU lead to 4-2 with a leadoff home run from Ratcliffe in the fifth. However, the Cardinals would get the run back in the bottom of the frame when Carpenter singled to lead off and eventually came around to score on a bases loaded pass ball.
BSU added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth when Carpenter doubled to left center with one out. Montalto and Bickel each walked to reach base, with freshman pinch runner Haley Smith (Baytown, Texas/Lee) replacing Bickel at first. Carpenter's double would drive in both runners.
The Zips fought back in the top of the seventh, scoring a pair of runs, before back-to-back Mazzapica strikeouts and a lineout to left ended the game.Ball State and Akron will conclude its two-game series Easter Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch scheduled at the BSU Softball Complex.