Senior center fielder Matt Eppers leads off the fifth with a single during the Cardinals’ game against Bowling Green on April 14 at Ball Diamond at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Ball State had 12 hits and seven runs. Paige Grider // DN
RECAP: Ball State baseball eliminated from MAC Tournament
Seven different pitchers took the mound for Ball State baseball in its 15-5 loss to the Toledo Rockets, which eliminated the Cardinals from the MAC Tournament.
With the score tied 5-5 in the top of the eighth, redshirt senior left-handed pitcher Kevin Marnon entered the game to face left-handed left fielder Brad Boss with runners on first and second.
Boss hit a two-RBI double to right field to give Toledo the 7-5 lead before Marnon was replaced by redshirt sophomore T.J. Baker.
Ball State (30-28)
Left on base: 7
L — Nick Floyd (2-2)
Left on base: 12
W — Nate Haugh (2-3)
Since the two runners were inherited, both runs, as well as the loss, were credited to sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Floyd (2-2).
Floyd entered the game unexpectedly after junior right-handed pitcher Brendan Burns walked off the mound with an injury with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the fifth.
Burns struck out four in two innings of relief and was credited with an earned run after Floyd walked in one of his inherited runners to give Toledo a 5-4 lead.
Toledo took an early lead when Boss hit an RBI double in the first, senior designated hitter Jake Krupar hit a solo home run in the second and a two-RBI double by sophomore center fielder Ross Adolph in the third. All four runs were scored against Ball State freshman starting pitcher John Baker, who was replaced by Burns after Adolph's double.
Cardinals senior centerfielder Matt Eppers cut the Rockets' lead to one with a three-run home run in the bottom of the third, and junior shortstop Seth Freed tied it up 4-4 with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth.
Junior right fielder Jeff Riedel led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple and tied the game 5-5 on a sacrifice fly by sophomore designated hitter Trent Theisen, but it was the last of Ball State's runs. Freed hit a two-out double later in the inning, prompting the Rockets to replace starting pitcher Sam Shutes with freshman right-handed pitcher Nate Haugh.
The Cardinals loaded the bases after drawing pair of walks, but Eppers swung through a full-count pitch just off the outer half of the plate to end the inning. Haugh (2-3) was credited with the win after pitching the final 3.1 innings without allowing a run or a hit, though he did walk four batters.
Toledo (17-40, 9-15 MAC) gave Haugh plenty of insurance runs in the top of the ninth by scoring eight runs in the inning. T.J. Baker started the inning with a strikeout, but war replaced by senior lefty Evan Korson after allowing a single and hitting a batter. Korson faced one batter, left-handed senior shortstop Matt Hansen, and allowed an RBI single before being replaced by sophomore right-handed pitcher TJ Harmon, who allowed both inherited runners to score and gave up five runs of his own in two-thirds of an inning.
Ball State (30-28, 14-10 MAC) is eliminated from the conference tournament with the loss.