Despite leading all day at UAB, Ball State was unable to close out a victory Friday evening. The Cardinals took a three-run lead into the bottom of the ninth, only to see the Blazers score four times without recording an out to win 4-3.
Ball State starter Cal Bowling threw eight shutout innings, but gave up back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the ninth inning. That led coach Alex Marconi to make a move to the bullpen, bringing in closer Devin Wilburn (1-1). Third baseman Patrick Palmeiro greeted Wilburn with an RBI double to cut Ball State's lead to two runs.
From there, the inning spiraled even further out of control. Wilburn hit a batter to load the bases, gave up an RBI single to Keith DePew and walked Jacob German to tie the game at three. With the winning run on third base and no outs in the inning, Tanner Bryant came to the plate. Bryant singled to left, bringing home Jeff Schalk to end the game.
The offensive outburst came after the Blazers managed just three hits in eight innings against Bowling. He started the ninth inning looking to complete his second career shutout, only to find himself on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
Still, Bowling's start was impressive. He allowed five hits in eight innings and struck out eight, setting a new career high.
The Cardinals scored one run in the first inning when T.J. Weir hit a two-out, RBI double that scored Mitch Widau. For much of the afternoon, it looked like that would be enough for Ball State (1-2).
But the Cardinals tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the ninth off Blazers reliever Dylan Munger (1-1). Dominic Catanzarite drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the first run of the inning before Kirby Campbell followed with a sacrifice fly.
Weir went 2-for-4 with two doubles and was the only Cardinal to record multiple hits.
Ball State and UAB continue their three-game series Saturday at 3 p.m. Left-hander Nestor Bautista will get the start for the Cardinals.