Alex Marconi's season debut as head coach of Ball State didn't result in the way he envisioned it; a 3-2 loss to Kennesaw State Friday.
The game came down to the bottom of the ninth inning, when senior infielder Sean McClurken stroked an RBI single to push the winning run across home plate.
Junior right-hander Cal Bowling lasted 4.1 innings, allowed six hits and surrendered two runs to the Owls. Bowling was inconsistent at times, walking three and fanning two of the 16 hitters he faced.
Kennesaw State (1-0) got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third frame as the Owls touched up Bowling for three hits. Center-fielder Will Howard and catcher Ronnie Freeman each produced RBI singles to put the Owls in front 2-0.
Josh Carr was efficient against the Cardinals, allowing just one hit in the five innings he pitched.
Ball State (0-1) finally found its offensive rhythm in the top of the seventh inning against right-hander Alan Busenitz.
Busenitz recorded the first two outs of the inning in quick fashion before redshirt sophomore Dominic Catanzarite drew a two-out walk. Junior second baseman Mitch Widau drove an 0-2 pitch over the right field wall for the Cardinals first home run of season to tie the game at 2-2.
It was Widau's first career home run after going 50 games without a long ball to start his career.
The Cardinals bullpen held the Owls in check as the combination of freshman righty Jacob Brewer tossed 2.0 shutout innings, and senior righty Scott Brothers Jr. got the Cardinals out of a jam in the seventh inning.
Sophomore Blake Beemer led off the top of the ninth for Ball State with a lead-off single to center field. Beemer then swiped second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Owls, putting himself in scoring position as the go-ahead run for Ball State.
The Owls got out of the inning with a ground ball and carried the momentum over to the home half of the ninth, where they ultimately won the game.
Brothers Jr. (0-1) was dealt the loss for Ball State. The Cardinals yielded just three runs on eight hits as they turned three double plays.
The two teams will resume play in its three-game series Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., with senior southpaw Derek Grabner scheduled to take the mound for Ball State.