BASEBALL: Six-run sixth inning dooms Ball State
Cardinals' losing streak reaches seven games with 6-3 loss
It took Ball State 17 innings to score its first run in Mid-American Conference play this season. By the time T.J. Weir crossed home on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning Saturday for Ball State's first run of its series at Akron, the Cardinals were well on their way to their seventh straight loss.
Akron used a six-run sixth inning to cruise to a 6-3 victory Saturday afternoon in Akron, Ohio. Combined with Friday's 4-0 loss, Saturday's defeat clinched the three-game series for Akron. The Cardinals (3-14, 0-2) had not lost a series to the Zips since 1995.
The defeat also marked the first time Ball State lost its first conference series of the season since 2004.
The game was scoreless through the first five innings. Each starting pitcher had allowed just three hits before Weir ran into trouble in the sixth.
Weir retired two of the first three Akron batters to start the inning before giving up six straight two-out hits. The Zips' barrage gave them all the offense they would need and ended Weir's day after 5 2/3 innings. Weir (0-5) had started the game with six strikeouts in five innings only to see it end with another loss.
Ball State never had an answer for Akron left-hander Pat Dyer, who threw seven shutout innings. The freshman struck out five and allowed five hits in the victory.
The Cardinals had opportunities to score off Dyer, but were unable to get a timely hit. In the fourth, Ball State had runners on first and second with one out, only to watch as Dyer struck out Dominic Catanzarite and Cody Campbell to end the inning. In the fifth, Wes Winkle was thrown out trying to steal third base. Alex Marconi, who was coaching third base, argued the call to no avail.
Ball State's last chance against Dyer came in the seventh when Campbell led off the inning with a double. But Dyer got three quick outs, finishing his day unscathed.
Despite the big deficit, Ball State was able to get the tying run to the on deck circle in the ninth inning. Sean Godfrey delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double with two outs in the inning, but the Cardinals would get no more.
Ball State and Akron will conclude their weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m. Right-hander Chris Marangon is expected to start for the Cardinals.