BASEBALL: Another poor start dooms Ball State
Cardinals unable to overcome early five-run deficit
Its bats stifled by Missouri's starting pitching for the second day in a row, Ball State was again unable to overcome an early deficit and lost 9-2 Sunday. Despite a victory Friday night, Ball State (2-6) was unable to leave Columbia, Mo., with a series win.
Missouri (4-5) starting pitcher Blake Holovach (1-0) threw five shutout innings to protect the early five-run lead he was given. The Cardinals' offense was unable to get much going against Holovach, who allowed three hits and one walk while striking out eight batters.
The Tigers, meanwhile, scored five runs off T.J. Weir in 3 1/3 innings. They knocked Weir (0-2) out of the game with a four-run fourth, which began with the sophomore walking the bases loaded with one out. Dillon Everett, Missouri's ninth hitter, brought home two runs with a double. Right fielder Blake Brown followed with a two-run single that gave the Tigers a 5-0 lead ended Weir's day.
Reliever Chris Marangon held Missouri at bay for the next three innings, allowing Ball State's offense to gather itself against the Tigers' bullpen. In the top of the eighth, Mitch Widau drove in the Cardinals' first run with a triple. Blake Beemer followed with an RBI-single, cutting the deficit to three runs.
Despite loading the bases later in the inning, Ball State couldn't get any more runs. Stranding runners was a problem throughout the day for the Cardinals, who left nine runners on the bases.
Ball State's comeback couldn't gain any traction, however, as Missouri responded with four more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Marangon started the inning with a walk and was relieved by Devin Wilburn. The sophomore left-hander immediately ran into trouble. Wilburn allowed a double before a pair of walks forced home a run. After another Missouri hit, coach Alex Marconi removed Wilburn.
It was the second outing in a row for Wilburn in which he didn't record an out. Last Friday at UAB, Wilburn blew a save after allowing five straight batters to reach base.
At Missouri, Ball State's offense seemingly broke out of some of the doldrums it experienced in the first two weekends of the season. The Cardinals scored 12 runs in three games against the Tigers, equaling its total from the previous five games.
Sunday, however, was another light-hitting day. Beemer was the only Cardinal with multiple hits, going 2-for-5 with an RBI.