USC-Upstate scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning off Ball State left-hander Nestor Bautista and easily beat the Cardinals 10-1 Saturday. The loss was Ball State's first of the season, coming a day after its thrilling Opening Day victory against Dayton.
Bautista gave up seven runs on six hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings before Alex Marconi removed the Cardinals' starter. Ball State's offense did little better against USC-Upstate starter Scott DeCecco or the three relievers coach Matt Fincher used. The Cardinals had just three hits and none after the second inning.
Bautista pitched in 14 games last year, including five starts. He was 0-5 with a 9.11 ERA last season, but after a strong summer in the Northwoods League, Marconi was hopeful Bautista would take a step forward. Instead, he allowed a run with two outs in the first inning and then couldn't make it out of the second inning.
In six career starts, Bautista is now 0-5 with a 15.60 ERA.
Ball State scored its lone run in the second inning. Sean Godfrey doubled to lead off the inning and Cody Campbell and Mitch Overley both reached to load the bases with one out. Wes Winkle brought Godfrey home with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at one before Mitch Widau flew out to left field to end the inning.
From that point on, it was all Spartans. They scored six times in the second and three times in the fifth off reliever Scott Baker. Center fielder Gaither Bumgardner went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a double to lead USC-Upstate. In all, the Spartans combined for 12 hits and drew nine walks.
Ball State will close out the weekend at Wofford on Sunday at 1 p.m. Right-hander T.J. Weir will make his first start of the season for the Cardinals.