BASEBALL: Ball State slugs its way to another series victory

Cards hit six home runs in 18-11 win Saturday

All Eastern Michigan University left fielder Ken Battiston could do after watching Kory Benbow's second home run of the day sail by was punch the wall.

The day would get worse for Eastern Michigan, as Ball State University (22-21, 13-4) piled up 18 runs to clinch its sixth straight Mid-American Conference series victory. The Cardinals' 18-11 win Saturday extended their winning streak to five games and continued their best start to conference play since 2005.

Carrying momentum from Friday's 13-12 walk off win, Ball State jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings. Picking right up where they left off, catch Zach Dygert and second baseman Kolbrin Vitek each hit home runs.

The Cardinals continued scoring, which proved important when starting pitcher Cal Bowling (4-3) ran into trouble in the middle innings. Bowling got through five innings for the victory, but gave up six runs on 10 hits.

Staked to a 12-6 lead, reliever Seth Hobbs let the Eagles (21-22, 10-7) back into the game in the sixth. The sophomore gave up five runs, while retiring just one hitter.

But Jon Cisna was able to stop the bleeding for the Cardinals and get out the inning, allowing their bats to get back to work. Ball State quickly regained control with a four-run sixth inning and Cisna kept Eastern Michigan down.

Cisna pitched 3 2/3 innings for his first career save, allowing just one hit. The freshman retired the final 10 batters of the game.

Benbow finished the day 5-for-5 with three home runs and six RBIs. He set career highs in hits and RBIs and became the second Cardinal to hit three home runs in a game this year.

The two teams will complete the series today at 1 p.m.