Ball State baseball (24-17, 10-5 MAC) couldn’t overcome an early 8-0 deficit, losing to Bowling Green State University (16-24, 6-9 MAC) 8-7 in its series finale. 

Bowling Green scored six runs in the first inning off Ball State sophomore right-handed pitcher Brendan Burns on just three hits in the inning. Burns (5-2, 3.83 ERA) walked three and hit one batter before being pulled with two outs. He was credited with his second loss of the season.

Cardinal leadoff batters reached base in six of the game’s nine innings, but only one of those leadoff runners scored. Still, the Cardinals managed to score seven runs and recorded 14 hits to the Falcons’ 10. Head coach Rich Maloney said it was an odd game.

Statistics

Ball State hits: 14

Bowling Green hits: 10

Ball State extra-base hits: 3

Bowling Green extra-base hits: 0

Ball State runners left on base: 13

Bowling Green runners left on base: 8

“Unusual things happen sometimes in the great game of baseball,” he said. “This was an unusual game, but I’m proud of the way the guys battled. When you’re down that far, I mean, it was 8-0, we made a run at it but couldn’t get over the top.”

Trailing by one with one out in the bottom of the ninth and runners on second and third, junior right fielder Alex Call stepped up to the plate. Call was already 2-5 with a run and an RBI, and with first base open Bowling Green intentionally walked him to try and set up a double play. Maloney said the move was “a no-brainer.”

“Anybody who’s been in coaching, that’s what they’re gonna do,” he said. 

Bowling Green junior right-handed closer Toni Landi then earned his eighth save of the season after forcing junior shortstop Alex Maloney to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Rich said the situation could have been avoided had the Cardinals not dug such a deep hole in the first.

“Everything focuses on that moment, [but] the truth of the matter is that when you give up a six-spot [in one inning], you don’t win many games,” he said.

Ball State scored all seven of its runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. Junior catcher Jarett Rindfleisch hit a three-run home run in the fifth and junior first baseman Caleb Stayton hit a two-run home run in the sixth.

Rich said the offensive outburst was a good sign moving forward, even if the Cardinals dropped the game.

“The positive is this team doesn’t quit,” he said. “They’re resilient, they played great defense. We just came up one run short.”

Ball State will return to action Tuesday when it hosts Northern Kentucky at 3 p.m.