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Miami softball splits with Ball State in exciting doubleheader

<p>Senior pitcher Courtney Vierstra high-fives junior catcher Allie Cummins during a weekend series vs Buffalo.</p>

Senior pitcher Courtney Vierstra high-fives junior catcher Allie Cummins during a weekend series vs Buffalo.

The Miami RedHawks and the Ball State Cardinals were the only two undefeated softball teams in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). 

On Tuesday, they ruined each other’s perfect record.  

The teams faced off in an afternoon doubleheader that was crucial for each team's place in the conference standings.

In the third inning of the first game, a hit from freshman infielder Karli Spaid sent freshman infielder Holly Blaska across the plate for the first score of the game. Then in the fourth inning, Blaska smacked the ball to right field and sent senior infielder Mackenzie Moore home to put the ’Hawks up 2-0. 

When Jermey Manley, assistant coach for Ball State, got kicked out of the game in the middle of the fourth inning, the Cardinals were determined to come back. 

In the top of the fifth, Ball State had one runner steal home, and a home run hit over the fence by senior Kennedy Wynn for three runs, putting the Cardinals up 4-2.

That was where the score would stay, as Miami’s bats went cold the rest of the game. With the loss, the team snapped its 20-game win streak.

The second game didn’t start so well for the RedHawks. Spaid was pulled off of second base in the top of the second inning with a hand injury and was replaced by junior Maclai Branson. She did not return to the game. 

The Cardinals were up 5-0 going into the bottom of the third inning. Senior catcher Allie Cummins sent a ball flying down the first baseline for a triple, sending freshman outfielder Karlee Juarez home. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Cummins racked up another RBI when Blaska crossed the plate. 

Going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Cardinals were up 7-2. 

Branson smacked a double to leftfield sending Blaska and senior outfielder Morgan Lott home, making the score 7-4. 

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With the bases loaded and one out , senior outfielder Lily Wilmot hit an out-of-the-park grand slam, sending Branson, Cummins, and senior outfielder Jada Dotson across the plate for a walk-off victory, 8-7. 

“Our team showed some grit,” head coach Kirin Kumar said. “After suffering their first loss in 21 games, it’s hard to come back from that, especially being down 7-2 to a very good team."

The RedHawks and the Cardinals both have one loss in the league and will face each other for another double header in Muncie on April 28. 

The ’Hawks are now 17-1 in the MAC. They continue their season this weekend at the University of Toledo for a four-game series. The series will begin on Friday at 3 p.m.