BASEBALL: Cardinals lose to Hoosiers for first time since 1998
Three Ball State players hit homers on windy day in Bloomington
A gusty Tuesday afternoon in Bloomington produced eight home runs in Ball State University's 12-6 loss to Indiana University.
Starting pitcher Cody Elliott (0-2) allowed six runs in three innings for the loss. Hoosiers' reliever Dylan Swift (1-0) allowed three runs in four innings and picked up the victory.
The home run barrage began early at Sembower Field as Kolbrin Vitek gave the Cardinals (11-16) a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a long ball. But the Hoosiers (14-13) responded with a pair of two-run home runs of their own in the bottom of the inning off Elliott.
"He comes out and gets the first two guys out," coach Greg Beals said. "Then I think he relaxed or lost focus and walked the three-hole hitter. They scored four runs with two outs in the first inning. I think it was tough on Cody."
Elliott made his first start of the year after appearing four times as a reliever in the first month of the season. He struck out two and walked two in his three innings of work.
"Overall, I thought it was OK," Beals said. "We were planning on just going three innings with him and that's what he did. It was good for him to get some extended work."
Ball State was tested by the Indiana lineup, which has scored 36 runs in its last two games.
"They do have a good offensive ball club," Beals said. "Their three and four hitters are very good college hitters."
While the Cardinals were battered by the Hoosiers' lineup, they also struggled with their pitching.
"Some of the pitching they threw at us was really slow and we didn't make the adjustment," captain Zach Dygert said. "We need to make better adjustments as a team."
Vitek, Ryan Chenoweth and T.J. Baumet all went deep against the Hoosiers, and only one of Ball State's runs didn't come on a home run. But Dygert said the Cardinals were off balance much of Tuesday.
"They had us out on our front foot and we were rolling over on the ball," he said. "We weren't able to sit back and drive the ball like we try to."
The loss snapped the Cardinals' four-game winning streak and was its first loss to Indiana in five games dating back to 1998.
Beals said Ball State will have to regroup before travelling to Bowling Green State University for a Mid-American Conference series this weekend.
"It was a bit of a midweek letdown," Beals said. "We didn't have same intensity we had on the weekend. We have to make sure we stay focused in practice the next two days and get ready for conference play."