Cardinals In The Crowd (March 29)

BY ALEC RUNYAN / Ball State Sports Link

Baseball, softball, and soccer all win close contests at home as volleyball wraps up and track tops the MAC in the early outdoor season. Here’s a look at this week’s five Cardinals you need to know.

Kia Holder – Volleyball

Just as she’s done all season, senior Kia Holder led BSU with 63 kills on the week in the Cardinal’s final three matches of the season.

The outside hitter notched 19 and 17 kills in BSU’s first two matches before going off for a career-high 27 kills and 9 digs at Eastern Michigan in her final match.

Holder has been an instrumental part of the Cardinals success over the past few years. Coming into her senior season, she’s already been awarded Academic All-MAC twice and was the MVP of the MAC Volleyball Championship in 2019.

She finished the season with 281 kills while averaging 3.51 kills per set, both team-highs on the year. She also was one of the three Cardinals to play in all 80 sets on the season.

Noah Navarro – Baseball

The Ball State baseball team won their second consecutive MAC series (3-1) this weekend after closing out the series Sunday afternoon with another walk-off.

It seems in just about every series the Cardinals play in lately, there’s somebody different every weekend stepping up to make the big play.

This weekend was second basemen Noah Navarro’s turn as he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. With the game locked at seven, Navarro blasted a 0-1 pitch over the left field fence to walk it off.

Navarro not only came up big in game 4 for the Cardinals, but drove in the game-winning run in the seventh inning in BSU’s 7-6 victory over Toledo in the series opener.

Ball State (12-9 6-2 MAC) looks to stay hot as they take on Butler (5-6) in a three-game series beginning Friday, April 2 at 1 p.m.

Bryeana Byrdsong – Track

Ball State track & field showed a lot of promise in a lot of areas while competing at Raleigh Relays this past weekend.

Sprinter Bryeana Byrdsong had a successful weekend, putting herself at the top of the MAC leaderboard in the 100m and 200m.

The senior finished in ninth place out of 47 competitors in the 100m (11.75) and 11th out 52 in the 200m (24.00).

Byrdsong also ran the second-leg of 4×100 team along with Ivy McKee, MaQuila Norman, and Michelle Lehmann who recorded the school’s second fastest time of 45.26 which puts them atop of the MAC leaderboard as well.

The Cardinals head back on the road as they travel to Kentucky for the Louisville Invitational Friday, March 2- Saturday, March 3.

Tatiana Mason – Soccer

Ball State soccer only had one game last week but it was arguably the biggest so far in the short season.

In an attempt to revenge their only loss of the season, the Cardinals hosted Central Michigan in a battle for first place in the MAC West.

After ending regulation tied 1-1, junior Tatiana Mason scored the game’s final goal in the 98th minute to give Ball State the 2-1 victory.

Mason now leads the team on the season with three goals in six games.

BSU heads to Toledo this Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Stacy Payton – Softball

Ball State softball started began their MAC schedule this weekend at home sweeping Bowling Green in a four-game series.

Senior Stacy Payton had a big weekend going 6-10 at the plate with six RBIs and three runs scored.

Of Payton’s six hits on the weekend, her most impressive came in the bottom of the sixth inning of Sunday’s contest.

With BSU down 4-5 and just six outs away from their first conference loss, Payton sent a solo shot deep over the outfield fence to tie the game. The Cardinals would go on to score four more runs in the sixth and close the game out 9-5 to complete the series sweep.

BSU (10-9, 4-0 MAC) heads to Central Michigan (4-13, 2-6 MAC) this Friday, March 2 for another four-game conference series.