BASEBALL: Dayton dominates 5th inning to send Ball State home with loss
Bullpen implodes to give up 10 runs in the 5th frame, leading to the Cardinals losing 14-5
Right-handed pitcher Jacob Brewer started Ball State's game Tuesday against Dayton well enough.
Brewer escaped the second inning allowing just one run. He pitched out of trouble in the third and dodged a bullet in the fourth after surrendering back-to-back two-out doubles, giving Dayton a two-run lead.
By that time, Ball State was still in the game.
But in the fifth inning, the game unraveled for Brewer and the Cardinals' bullpen, as the Flyers exploded for 10 runs, cruising to a 14-5 victory Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Stadium.
"I thought Jacob did a decent job today," coach Alex Marconi said. "When we took him out of the game, we were still in a position to have a chance to win the baseball game, and that's what you want out of your starters.
"To keep you in the game and give you an opportunity to either add to the runs you already have to increase your lead or score a couple of runs to make it a close game."
The fact that Brewer was able to battle out of trouble was one thing Marconi praised his starting pitcher for.
"That was one of the finer points," Marconi said.
In the Flyers' half of the second inning, Brewer got the first out with two pitches. After hitting a man, he retired second baseman Mel Skochdopole on strikes for the second out. Following a stolen base by Stewart, Brewer allowed an RBI single to third baseman Robby Sunderman. After the Flyers swiped another base, Brewer induced a groundout off the bat of catcher Josh Jeffery, ending the inning unscathed.
"[He] was giving up one run and not letting the inning get [out of hand]," Marconi said. "It's OK to do that. It's OK, you're going to give up runs."
Despite Brewer allowing four earned runs for the game, the bullpen imploded during Dayton's monstrous fifth inning.
The combination of freshman Scott Baker and sophomore Tyler Jordan allowed 10 runs, six of which were earned off of seven hits in just three innings of relief work.
"You can survive when you're giving up one or two there, but when you give up a big inning like that, there's very few times where you're able to come back," Marconi said. "We just didn't pitch well."
A short memory will be key for the Cardinals (4-15), who will make their home debut at Ball Diamond Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. following an exhausting 19-game road trip to begin the season.
"I think everybody is relieved a little bit to not have to get on a bus to go play a game," Marconi said. "It'll be a good change of pace and give us an opportunity to play at our home ballpark.
"We'll actually have to adjust to it a little bit because it will be the first time we've played at home. Even though we'll be there, there will be a little bit of an adjustment."