Cardinals coach Rich Maloney has preached playing small ball so far this season.

In Game 1 of today’s doubleheader, his team did exactly that. Hitting singles and doubles and sacrificing players around the bases led Ball State to a 7-4  over Bradley.

Ball State fell behind by two runs early as Chris Marangon was shaky to start. Bradley’s Chris Godinez was hit by a pitch, then advanced to second on a sacrifice hit. He scored when Greg Partyka doubled, and Partyka  came home when Austin Jarvis’s found left field.

Two innings later, Partyka continued to haunt Ball State, hitting another double, extending the lead to 3-0.

The struggles continued the next inning. Bob Schuch walked, and was bunted over to second. After Marangon balked him to third, Godinez singled to right, giving Bradley a 4-0 lead.

The Cardinals bats heated up in the top of the fifth. Cody Campbell, T.J. Weir, and Blake Beemer singled to load the bases with no outs.
Billy Wellman grounded out to shortstop but Campbell scored to get Ball State on the board.

A few pitches later, Sam Tidaback hit a ball back to the pitcher who tried to throw back to his catcher but misfired. Tidaback advanced to second, while Weir and Beemer scored to cut the lead to 4-3.

The Cardinals tied the game at four in the top of the sixth when Weir knocked a pitch into left center, bringing home Sean Godfrey. They took the lead on a Wellman fly out to deep right, with Campbell coming around to score.

Miles Moeller entered the game in the bottom of the seventh for Marangon. Moeller had trouble early after a single and stolen base by Bradley’s Mike Tauchman. Moeller got out of trouble unscathed, not allowing any runs.

Ball State loaded the bases in the top of the eighth, and extended the lead to 6-4 after Devarie drew a walk that brought Weir in.
Weir replaced Moeller after a walk and a single in the bottom of the eighth.

Weir walked Godinez to load the bases and worked a full count to Tauchman before Tauchman grounded to Beemer, who stepped on second and fired to Weir who was covering first to get the inning ending double play.

Godfrey tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth, hitting a solo home run to left field, extending the lead to 7-4.

Weir pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the Ball State win.

Marangon’s record improves to 1-0, with his ERA sitting at 2.92.