WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – Ball State scored five runs in the final three innings to overcome an early four-run deficit in a 6-5 win over the Purdue softball team on Wednesday.
Ball State scored its six runs on 11 hits and an error, while allowing the Boilermakers five runs on 11 hits and two errors. Senior Andie Varsho led the Purdue bats with a three hit effort, while senior Tori Chiodo and freshman Katy McJunkin chipped in two hits apiece.
Nicole Steinbach (9-6) earned the complete-game victory for BSU. Junior Lexy Moore started the game for the Boilers, going four and a third innings, but junior Alex Whittemore was saddled with the loss for Purdue after giving up the final two runs in a closing effort.
The Cardinals scored first, as Jennifer Gilbert lifted a two-out solo home run in the first inning.
Purdue got the run back and went up one with a two-run shot by Chiodo in the bottom of the first. The long ball, Chiodo’s sixth of the season, plated Varsho, who had singled and swiped second. An error gave the Boilers another base runner, but BSU turned a double play to erase the miscue. Senior Lindsey Rains added a two-out single, but was left stranded.
The Boilermakers extended the lead to 5-1, pouring on three more runs on three hits and an error in the second. McJunkin led off the inning with a hit and was joined on base by sophomore Paris Andrew, who was hit by a pitch. Ball State made a fielder’s choice play at third for the innings’ first out, but Varsho followed with a single to fill the bases. Chiodo picked up two more RBI with a single to left center. An error on another fielder’s choice play gave Purdue another base runner, but a fly out and grounder left the score at 5-1.
Ball State threatened in the fourth, putting a runner on third after a leadoff single, but the Boilermaker defense held.
Varsho registered her third hit of the game with a bunt single in the fourth. She stole second, but the Boilers couldn’t bring her in.
The Cardinals narrowed the gap to one with three runs on five hits in the fifth inning. A pair of infield singles and two stolen bases started the rally. A ground ball to shortstop plated the first run, while a double to right field and a single to right center drove in the next two. Ball State tried to tie the game by scoring from second on a two-out single but Rains threw the runner out at home to end the inning.
Senior Maia Monchek and McJunkin tallied two-out singles in the fifth, but Purdue couldn’t cash in.
Ball State tied the game with an unearned run in the sixth. A leadoff pinch hit double by Hanne Stuedemann started the stanza. A strikeout and a ground ball to the pitcher followed. A fielding error, however, brought pinch runner Amanda Arnett in from third. A liner to first base ended the inning.
Sophomore CJ Parsons came through with a pinch hit single in the sixth, but a fielder’s choice and ground out kept Purdue from going ahead.
Gilbert put the Cardinals on top with a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning. The Boilers sat down the next three batters in order to try to set up a seventh-inning rally.
Purdue kept hope alive in the seventh as junior Ashley Burkhardt singled and Monchek drew a two out walk after a pair of fielder’s choice plays, but a fly ball sealed the Ball State win.
The Boilermakers (20-19-1, 7-2 Big Ten) return to action at 6 p.m. Friday to kick off a three-game series vs. Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.