BASEBALL: Ball State drops season opener to No. 15 Arkansas
Starting pitcher Piatt wild for Cardinals as team plays in front of nearly 5,000 fans
Playing outside for the first time all year, Ball State University wasn't quite ready to take on No. 15 University of Arkansas.
The Razorbacks defeated the Cardinals 10-2 on opening day in front of 4,847 people, the largest crowd Ball State has played in front of since the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Starting pitcher Brad Piatt (0-1) gave up three runs for the loss.
Arkansas started the game with three runs, despite not recording a hit in the first inning against Piatt. The first three Razorbacks to come to the plate in the game all scored after two hit batsmen, two walks, two sacrifice flies and two wild pitches.
While the Cardinals did not make any errors in their first trip outdoors, their pitchers never seemed quite comfortable against the experienced Razorback hitters.
Ball State cut the deficit to two runs in the fourth inning when second baseman Kolbrin Vitek singled and stole second base. First baseman Ian Nielsen drove him in with a line drive past shortstop Matt Reynolds for an RBI.
Two runs were as close as the Cardinals would get, as the Razorbacks extended their lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning against reliever Perci Garner. Arkansas added four more runs over the final three innings.
Ball State got their second run in the sixth inning when right fielder Ryan Chenoweth doubled to right field and was driven in by catcher Zach Dygert.
The only Cardinal with multiple hits on the day was center fielder Cody Elliott, who went 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
Arkansas was led by first baseman Andy Wilkins, who went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs.
The two teams will resume their three-game series today at 2 p.m. Arkansas, however, will likely be without second baseman Bo Bigham. The sophomore dove for a ball in the outfield and landed awkwardly on his left arm. He left the game with what was later reported as a dislocated shoulder.
Starting Saturday's game for Ball State will be right-hander Cal Bowling. Going for Arkansas is left-hander Drew Smyly.