BASEBALL: Valpo hits walk-off RBI single to beat Ball State 3-2
Cardinals leave several runners stranded after game goes into extra innings
Just when it looked as if its luck had changed, the Ball State baseball team was dealt another harsh blow in what has become a less than impressive season.
Ball State fell to in-state rival Valparaiso 3-2 in 10 innings thanks to a walk-off RBI single by fifth-year senior first baseman Will Hagel.
The Crusaders opened up the scoring in the bottom of the third after a sacrifice bunt and an RBI single, giving the home team an early 2-0 cushion. But the Cardinals broke through in the fourth.
Junior centerfielder Wes Winkle drew a leadoff walk to begin the inning and swiped second base, putting himself in scoring position for senior second baseman Mitch Widau. After Widau bunted Winkle to third, true freshman designated hitter Brandon Estep put the Cardinals on the scoreboard with an RBI sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals tied the affair in their half of the seventh frame. Widau lined a leadoff single to left field. After Estep bunted Widau to second, sophomore first baseman Billy Wellman roped an RBI single down the right field line, tying the game at 2-2 and giving the Cardinals a new life.
But that was it for the Cardinals' offense. They had their chances to push across the go-ahead run in the ninth and 10th innings with a hit in each, but the Crusaders' defense stiffened up and kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard.
In the loss, the Cardinals managed just four hits compared to 10 by the Crusaders. In addition, the Cardinals dropped their first game to the Crusaders in over a decade while their regular season losing skid was extended to seven games.
The Cardinals (11-33) will continue their season-ending seven-game road trip in Mount Pleasant, Mich., with a three-game series against Central Michigan this weekend.