Ball State ties series at one behind Baker’s strong performance
It was a different day for Ball State on Saturday. Instead of giving up 19 runs, sophomore Scott Baker shut down the Central Michigan lineup, and led his team to a 6-1 victory.
Baker threw his second straight complete game, allowing just one earned run and striking out 10 in the process. He increased his record to 8-0, tied for best in all of D-I baseball.
Ball State jumped on Central Michigan early in the first. Blake Beemer doubled to deep left, and Sean Godfrey doubled into the gap in right to bring Beemer home.
Beemer got on base in every at-bat of the game, gathering three hits and two walks.
“It’s a lot easier game when the opposing pitcher is throwing you strikes,” Beemer said. “I was talking to coach [Rich] Maloney about it before the game, bust trying to not get myself out and see the ball then hit it.”
Cody Campbell then singled through the left side, bringing Godfrey home to extend the lead to 2-0.
The Cardinals didn’t take long to strike in the bottom of the second. Ryan Spaulding led off the inning with a solo home run to right field, bring the lead to three. Wes Winkle doubled down the left field line, putting a man in scoring position for Beemer.
Beemer doubled to right, bringing Winkle home, making the lead 4-0. Godfrey flied out to right and Beemer was beat by the throw back to second to end the inning.
The success almost continued in the third, when a T.J. Weir, coupled with an error and wild pitch, sent him to third. Unfortunately for Ball State, Spaulding couldn’t bring him home and the lead stayed at 4-0.
Elbert DeVarie singled to open the bottom of the fourth, then advanced to second on a throwing error, and was singled in by Winkle who tapped the ball off the end of the bat, putting it in the perfect position in the infield that allowed Winkle to come home, and himself to make it to first safely.
Baker continued to mow down batters at a high rate. After a leadoff single to start the fifth, the next batter swung on the first pitch and grounded into the double play, ending the threat.
“I felt like I could pinpoint my fastball today which helped a lot,” Baker said. “My changeup was working really well too, once you get two or three pitches working for you, the game becomes a lot easier.”
Ball State continued the momentum in the bottom of the fifth when Kevin Schlotter and Spauling singled, putting men on first and second with one out. However, Ball State couldn’t take advantage.
Central Michigan got on the board in the top of the seventh when Neal Jacobs went deep to right for a home run, cutting the Ball State lead to four.
Billy Wellman scored in the bottom of the seventh when he took off from third and made it home on a bad throw from Joe Houlihan, extending the lead to 6-1.
Baker helped his team fielding as well, making a diving catch during the top of the eighth to get an out, and drawingloud cheers from the crowd inside Ball Diamond.
“There was only one thing going through my mind when Baker hit the ground,” Maloney said. “I was thinking ‘Please don’t be hurt’ and luckily he wasn’t.
For Maloney, the win was a great way to forget about the 19-2 debacle the Ball State team suffered on Friday.
“We all were wounded, because it was a pretty difficult loss,” Maloney said. “Ultimately, we have a chance to win the series tomorrow. I think our guys may have been playing with a chip on their shoulders.”
Ball State’s Jon Cisna will take the mound against Central Michigan’s Rick Dodridge tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.