BASEBALL: Ball State shutout in season's first MAC game
Cardinals manage just three hits in loss
Before boarding the bus for Akron, Ohio, Thursday, Alex Marconi said he was confident in the way Ball State was hitting on the eve of Mid-American Conference play.
Friday, however, Ball State's bats were silenced by Akron right-hander Andrew Brown. The Cardinals managed just three hits against Brown, and the Zips won the conference opener 4-0. The loss was Ball State's sixth in a row and ended its five-year winning streak on MAC Opening Day.
Brown needed 110 pitches to throw the three-hit shutout, the second shutout of his career. No Cardinals reached third base and only twice did Brown allow a runner to reach second. Brown struck out seven hitters to move into eighth place on the Zips' all-time strikeout list.
Ball State, meanwhile, got another good start from ace Cal Bowling. The senior allowed four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out a career-high nine batters.
Akron scored its first run in the fourth inning. Sam Trecaso led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on a double. After a strikeout, Trecaso scored on a groundout by Brandon Winter.
The Zips extended their lead with three runs in the fifth inning. They were aided when third baseman Tim Issler misplayed a pop up with one out in the inning. Akron had already scored one run and had a runner on third when Sam Watkins hit a pop up in short left field, just past the infield grass. Issler stumbled and was unable to catch it, allowing a run to score. Trecaso followed with a triple, which brought home the last run of the game.
Ball State and Akron continue their three-game series Saturday at 1 p.m. Right-hander T.J. Weir will start for the Cardinals.