BASEBALL: Cardinal's bullpen falters in 8th inning
Ball State blows 4-1 lead, lose to Eastern Michigan 5-4
After dropping its series opener against Mid-American Conference West division opponent Eastern Michigan, Ball State (12-27, 8-8) put itself in a comfortable position heading into the late stages of Game 2 Saturday afternoon.
Then the bullpen self-destructed.
The Cardinals tallied three runs in the first two innings to take a 3-0 lead.
Junior second baseman Mitch Widau drove Ball State's first run in the first inning, while sophomore catcher Kevin Franchetti and junior center fielder Cody Elliott plated the next two runs.
Fifth-year senior Morgan Coombs turned yet another productive performance on the mound for the Cardinals, but earned nothing to show for.
Coombs allowed four runs, three of which were earned, off of eight hits in seven innings.
The Cardinals held a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but couldn't close the door on the Eagles (27-15, 11-6), who rallied for four runs, on their way to a 5-4 victory, their second consecutive versus the red and white.
The victory deals Ball State its second consecutive conference series loss, putting them in a desperate situation heading down the stretch.
Franchetti recorded his third hit and drove in his third RBI of the series.
After being scratched from Friday's game due to inflammation in his back, junior right-hander Cal Bowling is expected to make his series debut in Sunday's series finale for Ball State.
First pitch is set for 1 p.m.