The Ball State baseball team finished up their regular season Sunday with an 8-1 over the Western Michigan Broncos.
The Cardinals started off the bottom of the first with junior Ben Schroeder's double to left field. Schroeder was brought home by a Paul Henry's sacrifice fly. Schroeder went 3-4 on the day. "I just wanted to get it going for our seniors," Schroeder said.
In the bottom of the third, Schroeder once again led the Cardinals with a two-out single. Senior Scott French got an RBI double to left field. French was brought in by Henry's RBI single to right-center field, and advanced to second on an error.
Sophomore Brad Snyder led off the fourth inning with a double down the right field line. Snyder went 2-4 on the day. Snyder was left stranded.
The Cardinals woke their bats up in the bottom of the seventh.
Senior Doug Boone led off the inning with a single up the middle and advanced to second via a stolen base. Fellow senior Jimmy Long laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Boone to third.
Sophomore Kiel Holman had a pinch-hit single to drive Boone home.
"Pinch hitting has been my role lately," Holman said. "It felt great to get that hit."
Senior Keith Nunley blasted an RBI double off the left field fence. Schroeder kept the momentum going with a single up the middle. A French strikeout and Henry flyout abruptly ended the inning.
In the top of the eighth, the Cardinal defense was tested. With a runner on first and one out, Western Michigan's Tom Fabrizio hit a deep fly ball to center field where French made a over-the-shoulder catch to end Western Michigan's offensive threat.
In the eighth inning, Boone, Long and sophomore James Nowicki knocked in three more runs for the Cardinals.
The Broncos refused to go quietly. With Andrew Anderson on the mound for Ball State, James Galla hit a solo homerun over the left field fence to give Western Michigan their only run of the game.
Michael Penn was the winning pitcher (1-1). Penn went five innings with seven strikeouts, two walks and allowed two hits.
Also making pitching appearances were sophomore John Pettibone and freshman Kory Bucklew. "We had great pitching today," head coach Rich Maloney said, "Michael did a great job. This game was an excellent win for us. We had great defense, awesome hitting and our seniors did very well."
Sunday marked the last home game for seniors Matt Deckman, Boone, Long, French and Nunley.
The next game is in the first round of the MAC tournament. "It's our year, we're going to do some damage," Holman said.
"If we play like we did today, we'll be hard to beat," Schroeder said.
The focus will be on pitching for the upcoming tournament. "There's no mystery there, we'll throw Bullington first, then Luke and Lynch," Maloney said. "We have to drive that first game home."
Ball State finished the regular season with a 31-21 record overall (17-9 in the MAC). The team finished second in the West Division and will enter the MAC tournament as the fourth seed Wednesday.