BASEBALL: Ball State falls to Miami in Game 2
Cardinals pitching puts team in hole, lose 11-8
The second of three games between Ball State and Miami turned into a slugfest with the RedHawks outdueling the Cardinals.
Ball State (5-19, 3-2) trailed 5-0 and collected just two hits through the first four innings before its offense exploded for five runs in the fifth.
Sophomore right fielder Blake Beemer led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Junior third baseman Tim Issler lined a single down the right field line advancing Beemer to third before sophomore catcher Kevin Franchetti drove an RBI single to center field, putting the Cardinals on the scoreboard.
After senior shortstop T.J. Baumet drew a walk, junior center fielder Cody Elliott drove a pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam, tying the game at 5-5.
The RedHawks answered in their half of the fifth when senior first baseman Kyle Weldon hit a solo home run to left, giving Miami a 6-5 lead.
The Cardinals knotted the game at 6-6 in the top of the sixth, but the RedHawks responded again, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth and three in the eighth.
A ninth inning rally fell short for Ball State, sealing an 11-8 victory for Miami.
It was a tough day for the Cardinals pitchers Saturday afternoon in Oxford.
Senior left-hander Derek Grabner lasted just 3 1/3 innings for Ball State. The Cardinals starter surrendered five earned runs off of six hits, walked three and fanned three.
Freshman Nestor Bautista came on in relief of Grabner and served up two home runs to the RedHawks in his 2 1/3 innings of work.
Ball State's bullpen yielded a combined six runs, five earned in 3 1/3 innings.
Senior left-hander Tyler Melling, who entered Saturday's contest leading the RedHawks with 32 strikeouts, didn't have his best stuff against Ball State.
However, the Miami starter got outs when he needed them. Melling worked five innings for the RedHawks and allowed five earned runs on seven hits, walked a pair and struck out four.
Saturday marked the first time Ball State collected eight runs since March 5, when it lost 12-8 to Marshall in the Caravelle Resort Invitational tournament in Coastal Carolina.
After going 0-for-4 Friday, Elliott turned in a 2-for-3 outing and a career-high five RBIs Saturday.
Issler went 3-for-4, with a run while Widau finished 1-for-5, with a run and an RBI.
The series finale is set for this afternoon.
Ball State looks to take its second consecutive Mid-American Conference series, while Miami looks to do the same.
Fifth-year senior Morgan Coombs takes the mound for Ball State. Coombs (1-3, 4.32 ERA) will be making his fourth start of the season for the Cardinals. Coombs has struck out 12 batters and walked 11 in 16 2/3 innings pitched.
Miami will send sophomore righty Brooks Fiala to the mound in the series finale. Fiala (2-2, 3.91 ERA) has worked 25 1/3 innings for the RedHawks while striking out 14 and walking 7. Fiala will be making his ninth appearance and third start of the season for Miami.
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at McKie Field at Hayden Park.