BASEBALL: Offense lets Ball State down at Butler
Beals says Cardinals let game get away on the road
A day after a momentum-building victory against Indiana State University, Ball State University suffered one of its worst defeats of the year.
Ball State lost 10-5 at Butler University on Wednesday afternoon. The Bulldogs (12-21) had just nine wins against Division I competition entering the game.
"I think the game just got away from us," coach Greg Beals said. "I didn't think the intensity was really there. We had some things going for us, but we had some mishaps on the basepaths and that slowed us down."
Ball State (17-20) may have been caught looking ahead to its pivotal weekend series against Mid-American Conference leader Central Michigan University. The Cardinals have been thinking about their trip to Mount Pleasant, Mich., all week.
"I hope and I'm confident that our guys are excited and that they're looking forward to the weekend," Beals said. "Hopefully we didn't look past Butler. If so, it cost us a game today."
The Cardinals scored a pair of quick runs in the first inning, but the Bulldogs' pitching staff was able to control the rest of the game.
"That's kind of where we plateaued," Beals said. "They pitched well and threw strikes, but they weren't overpowering. We had the opportunity to bust that game open, but we weren't able to do it."
Reliever Jared Wagoner (2-6) picked up the win for Butler, allowing one run in two innings.
Ball State had just eight hits and was unable to take advantage of four Butler errors.
Of the eight Cardinals' hits, five came from shortstop T.J. Baumet and first baseman Blake Beemer, the first and second hitters in the lineup. Baumet went 3-for-5 with three runs, extending his hot streak since missing two games two weeks ago.
Offensive leaders Kolbrin Vitek and Zach Dygert had a very quiet day, combining to go 0-for-5 with one RBI. With struggles from Vitek and Dygert and regular five-hole hitter Ian Nielsen getting a day off, Ball State had no punch in the heart of the order.
"That doesn't help obviously," Beals said. "You're talking about our go-to-guys on offense and we didn't get a whole lot from them."
The Cardinals got a good start from Michael Sandman, who allowed one run on two hits in three innings.
"Sandman threw really well today," Beals said. "I was excited to see Sandman get himself going."
The Ball State bullpen was unable to hold the lead, as four of the five relievers game up at least one run.
Butler took the lead with a four-run seventh inning against Seth Hobbs (2-2). Designated hitter Nick Hladek drove in center fielder Corey Moylan with an RBI single for the go-ahead run. Hladek was removed for a pinch runner and first baseman Kyle Schultz gave the Bulldogs an insurance run with a triple. An error by Baumet helped the Bulldogs score two more runs in the inning, both of which were unearned.
The Cardinals managed to plate a run with two outs in the eighth inning to pull within in three, but the damage had already been done. The Bulldogs stomped on any rally attempt with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning.