BASEBALL: Ball State splits double-header against Bowling Green
Freshman Mahala has career day with two grand slams
The last time Ball State tallied 13 runs was on May 13 last season in a 13-10 win over Ohio in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The bats were on fire for Ball State (7-22, 5-4 MAC) in Game 1 of a double-header versus MAC East opponent Bowling Green (11-16, 5-4 MAC) and the offense came in clusters.
On a day where the wind was blowing out, both teams combined for nine home runs, including four grand slams.
With two on and one out, designated hitter Matt Pitzulo sent an 0-2 pitch from Ball State starter Morgan Coombs over the right-center field wall for a three-run home run, his second of the season to put the Falcons ahead 3-0.
The Cardinals went quietly in their first two at-bats, before erupting for eight runs in their next three at-bats.
Freshman left fielder Sean Godfrey singled through the left side of the infield to lead off the third inning for Ball State. Junior center fielder Cody Elliott and senior shortstop T.J. Baumet followed with a single and a walk to load the bases for junior second baseman Mitch Widau, who lined an RBI single to center field.
The bases remained loaded for freshman first baseman Kenny Mahala, who took advantage of a 1-1 pitch for a grand slam, the first home run of his career, giving Ball State a 5-3 lead.
"It felt good because we were down [and Morgan Coombs] was pitching good, and I just wanted to get him a lead," Mahala said.
Godfrey hit his first career home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth for the Cardinals.
Three batters later, Mahala hit his second grand slam of the game to put the Cardinals ahead 10-3.
Coach Alex Marconi said Mahala took advantage of Bowling Green's mistakes.
"In big situations like that, [Kenny] got some pitches that were elevated and he made them hurt," Marconi said. "That's what good hitters do. To be successful, you have to hit pitcher's mistakes."
After sophomore third baseman Stephen Claypool singled and a four-pitch walk to Godfrey, Baumet hit a three-run home run, his third of the season to cap a 13-4 victory in the first game for the Cardinals.
Coombs worked six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits en route to picking up his third win of the season, improving his record to (3-3) on the season.
In Game 2, Ball State did not look like the same team from Game 1.
Marconi was disgusted with his team's performance after the game.
"The message was that they played horrible, plain and simple," Marconi said. "We didn't take good at-bats, we didn't make good pitches and we had five errors [in the second game] today."
After an error committed by the Falcons' left fielder, Mahala hit a two-run home run to left field, his third of the day, to give Ball State a 2-0 lead.
The Falcons responded in the top of the fifth.
After Claypool committed an error, the bases were loaded for right fielder Ryan Schlater, who hit a grand slam home run, his fourth of the season to give the Falcons a 4-2 lead.
"Grabner [was] throwing well and was in a tough spot," Marconi said. "We had a chance to make a very easy play if [we] just make the right read. We didn't make it. We had an error and the rest is history."
The Falcons tallied another grand slam in the top of the eighth inning, when first basemen Clay Duncan drove a pitch over the wall in center field to put the Falcons up 10-2.
Bowling Green took the latter game of the double-header, dealing Ball State its fourth conference loss of the season.
"They just didn't execute," Marconi said. "We did not deserve to win that baseball game."