BASEBALL: Hobbs provides some relief

Sophomore won first career game Friday at UAB

Thrust into the eighth inning of a tie ballgame on the road, right-hander Seth Hobbs didn't disappoint his Ball State University teammates and coaches.

Hobbs got in and out of a jam at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Friday night, which was all Ball State needed. In the top of the ninth, the Cardinals' bats exploded for four runs to take a 9-5 victory.

Though Hobbs walked two batters in the ninth and couldn't finish the game, the sophomore earned his first collegiate win in only his second appearance.

"I was really happy that the offense came through," he said. "It was a pretty good feeling getting my first college win. It was a long time coming."

This is Hobbs' third year at Ball State, but his first contributing to the team. He redshirted his freshman year and did not pitch last year after battling injuries.

With closer Aaron Hammons hurt, Hobbs has helped coach Greg Beals plug a hole in the relief corps.

"Hobbs did a great job pitching out of the back end of the bullpen," Beals said.

At then-No. 15 University of Arkansas, Hobbs threw two scoreless innings in mop-up duty. But with the game on the line Friday at UAB, Hobbs said he didn't feel the pressure.

"It felt natural," he said. "I wasn't nervous at all. I'd been preparing for it since last year. I felt like I was ready."

Beals again called on Hobbs in a tight spot during the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. However, he was unable to close out a 9-7 lead, allowing two runs in the ninth inning for a blown save. The Cardinals went on to lose 10-9 in 12 innings.

"I hurt myself by walking the leadoff guy," Hobbs said. "They got a fluke hit after that. They were tough on the basepaths and they got to second and third after that hit. I didn't feel any difference coming in. I was confident."

After the first two Blazers reached base, Hobbs retired the next three hitters, but it was too late.

Hobbs wasn't the only Ball State reliever to struggle at UAB, but he is confident that the Cardinals will rebound quickly.

"We need to lose our jitters and nerves and calm down," Hobbs said. "We know we can pitch. I think it'll come here very soon."