Freshman CJ Alexander attempts to hit the ball on Friday, March 18, 2016 at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. DN PHOTO ALLYE CLAYTON
Big innings propel Cardinals, win 3 of 4 against Dayton
In its first home stand of the season, Ball State baseball (11-10) won three of four games against the University of Dayton (4-14). The Cardinals scored four or more runs in an inning in each of the three victories.
After Ball State scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning of its 9-3 home win in the first half of Friday's doubleheader, head coach Rich Maloney said the team's lineup is dangerous.
"I don't remember one like that [this season], and it's kind of surprising with the team we've got," he said. "We think we should be able to do that once in a while."
The Cardinals didn't have to wait long to top its performance — in their 10-0 win Saturday, they hit three home runs and scored 10 runs in the third inning.
It was the first time Ball State scored 10 or more runs in a single inning since the third inning of its 15-9 victory against the University of Toledo on May 14, 2009.
Ball State hit around the order in the inning, and junior right fielder Alex Call said the team nearly earned a sugary treat from junior third baseman Sean Kennedy, who led off the inning with a ground-out to the shortstop before working a full-count walk in his second at-bat.
"If a guy makes two outs in the same inning, he has to buy the whole team doughnuts," Call said. "We had a chance."
Call leads Ball State in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage this season with a triple-slash line of .388/.474/.625. In the series against Dayton, Call was 8-16 at the plate with two walks, three doubles, three RBI, three runs scored, a home run and a stolen base.
Ball State increased its team batting average to .280 after hitting .333 against Dayton.
In each of the three wins, the Cardinals' starting pitchers allowed three runs or less in six or more innings. Maloney said the performances complement the lineup well.
"You start getting quality starts with the lineup that we have, [and] we'll be a tough team to beat," he said.
Sophomore pitcher and designated hitter Colin Brockhouse went 3-11 at the plate with four walks and earned the win on the mound in the second half of Friday's doubleheader after allowing one earned run and striking out eight in 6.2 innings pitched in the 6-1 victory. He said that the Cardinals were ready to play at home after spending the first month of the season on the road.
"We've been gone for four weekends and it gets kind of tiring with all of the bus trips and stuff like that," he said.
The Cardinals lost the series finale on Sunday 3-1 but Maloney said winning three of four was still a good weekend.
Ball State will host Purdue University (4-12) in its next game at 3 p.m. on March 22 at Ball Diamond at First Merchants Ballpark Complex.