After rallying to tie the score twice, junior Miranda Fleming had a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning to give the Dolphins’ (14-5) the go-ahead score.
The Cardinals (8-6) scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning on the first at-bat before freshman Victoria Brown (6-1) retired the next three hitters to earn the win in relief.
“This was another great team win for us,” JU head coach Ali Higgs said. “I am proud of the way we kept chipping away at the lead until we got our opportunity to win it. We picked up some quality wins this weekend and I look forward to continuing the momentum Wednesday.”
Trailing 3-1 to start the sixth inning, Brown led off with a double for JU. Junior Codi Kelly and freshman Emily Sanchez each followed with singles to load the bases. Sophomore Ashley Simon singled home Brown, while junior Karson Tuck reached on an error to plate Kelly to tie the game. Ball State starter and eventual losing pitcher Nicole Steinbach got the next two outs to quash JU’s threat.
Ball State answered in the bottom of the sixth inning with a RBI single from Sadie Roberston for the 4-3 lead, but JU tied the game in the seventh inning on a RBI triple by Kelly to force extras.
In the top of the eighth inning, Ashley Simon advanced JU pinch runner Adrienne Ramsay to third on a bunt single. Simon stole second, but Steinbach retired the next two hitters. Fleming smashed a single through the right side in the next at-bat, scoring Ramsay and Simon for the 6-4 lead. She also moved to second on the play from an error and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Freshman Sable Lee scored Fleming on a bunt single for a key run in the next at-bat.
In the Cardinals’ eighth inning, Taylor Rager doubled home Audrey Bickel, who was placed on second, in the first at-bat to cut the lead to 7-5. Rager advanced to third on ground out, but Brown got a line out and strikeout to secure the comeback win.
Brown allowed two runs, one earned, four hits in 3.1 relief innings for the win. Freshman Cecile Gomez allowed three runs on six hits and five strikeouts in 4.2 innings for the no-decision.
Steinbach (3-4) allowed seven runs, five earned, on 11 hits and five strikeouts in eight innings.
Offensively, Ashley Simon finished 3-for-4 to lead the Dolphins. Brown, Sanchez and Kelly each finished with two hits.
The Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead in the third inning on a RBI double from Hanne Stuedeman to score Taylor Cox. Jennifer Gilbert followed with a single to score Stuedeman to extend the lead.
Sanchez hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to cut JU’s deficit to a run, but Stuedeman added another RBI hit in the fifth to give Ball State a 3-1 advantage.
The Dolphins will play a doubleheader at Georgia Southern Wednesday in Statesboro, Ga. before starting A-Sun play next weekend. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m.