WMU Softball Knocks Off Top-Seeded Ball State
AKRON, Ohio - The Broncos' jumped ahead in the first two innings and its defense shut down the Cardinals the rest of the way en route to win that sends WMU to the semifinals of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Meredith Whitney was dealing in the quarterfinal showdown with the Cardinals. She gave up just four hits with half of those coming in the home half of the last inning. Whitney struck out 13 batters to give her 728 for her career, moving past Sara Gulla of Marshall (1997-2001) for sixth according to the updated MAC record book. She also now has 233 Ks this season, bringing her to within seven of WMU's single-season mark and 5.0 innings pitched from that single-season mark in program history.
Ball State led off the seventh with a Hanne Stuedemann home run on a 2-2 offering from Whitney. Jennifer Gilbert singled to right field and then Amanda Montalto drew a five-pitch walk. Taylor Rager reached on a fielder's choice to put runners on first and third with one out. Audrey Bickel also drew a walk to load the bases.
Whitney worked ahead of the next two batters getting them down 0-2 in the count before eventually getting Amanda Carpenter and Loren Cihlar to strike out swinging to end the threat and the game.
WMU jumped out in front with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Whitney earned a lead off walk and then Christina Pigozzi recorded her third base hit back to a pitcher this tournament. Tara Buchanan laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third, setting the stage for Barstad.
The senior, who came into the day hitting .800 during the tournament, ripped a double to the left field wall to clear the bases.
Elisha Handshoe also reached base to lead off the second inning. In fact, she reached all of them, hitting her second career home run over the left field wall to give WMU a 3-0 lead. The Broncos had the lead off hitter reach in each of the first four innings in Thursday night's victory.
Both Barstad and Handshoe registered multi-hit games against Ball State, each going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Western Michigan will face No. 6 Central Michigan in tomorrow evening's semifinal, which again will STREAM LIVE via the MAC Digital Network.