A small hiccup at Indiana University on Tuesday couldn't slow Ball State University down in the Mid-American Conference.
Ball State (12-16) opened a three-game series at Bowling Green State University with a 12-6 victory Friday. The Cardinals beat reigning MAC Pitcher of the Year Brennan Smith (1-4) with a big offensive day. They had 18 hits and scored 12 runs, despite stranding 17 runners.
Starting pitcher Perci Garner (4-0) earned the victory to remain undefeated this year.
Ball State gave Garner support early in the game putting a run on the board in each of the first two innings, before breaking the game open in the third and fourth. The Cardinals scored seven times in those innings, sending 16 batters to the plate against Smith and reliever Nick Burns.
After putting four runs on the board in the third inning, Ball State opened the fourth with a double, triple and home run from the heart of its lineup. First baseman Ian Nielsen delivered the long ball, his second of the year.
Working with a 9-2 lead after the fourth inning, the Cardinals cruised to their fifth straight MAC win. Garner threw six innings, allowing two runs and striking out five. Relievers Scott Brothers, Jon Cisna and Heath Riley finished the game, allowing coach Greg Beals to keep his top bullpen arms fresh for the rest of the weekend.
Ball State was led offensively by catcher Zach Dygert and third baseman Stephen Claypool, who both finished one hit shy of the cycle. Dygert went 4-for-4 with a walk before being lifted in the seventh inning. He had two RBIs and needed a home run to complete the cycle.
Claypool went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and fell a triple short of the cycle. He also walked twice.