BASEBALL: Godfrey's late homer not enough as BSU falls 4-2

Cardinals fail to convert attempted game-winning suicide bunt in 10 inning

Sean Godfrey stepped up to the plate to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning with Ball State trailing 2-1. Kent State starting pitcher Ryan Bores started his windup, fired home and Godfrey blasted a solo home run over the left field wall, tying the game at 2-2.

"I just wanted to go up there and try and hit something hard," Godfrey said. "Sitting on a first pitch fastball, and a I got it."

But the game-tying run wasn't enough, as the Golden Flashes pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the top of the 11th, securing a 4-2 victory and the weekend series.

After junior left-handed reliever John Cisna worked a scoreless 10th, the Cardinals squandered a potential game-winning chance in their half of the inning.

Junior centerfielder Wes Winkle lined a leadoff single to right field to begin the inning. A sacrifice bunt off the bat of senior second baseman Mitch Widau advanced Winkle to second base with one out.

An intentional walk to starting pitcher and designated hitter T.J Weir put runners on first and second before sophomore Cody Campbell was hit by a pitch to load the bases for junior captain Blake Beemer.

Similar to Friday's game, coach Alex Marconi was sure the Cardinals had the game won with the bases loaded and only one out.

"This game is ours," Marconi said. "Exact same thing."

Marconi called for a suicide squeeze on the first pitch, but Beemer didn't connect, causing Winkle to be tangled between third base and home plate. Winkle was ultimately tagged out before Beemer grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.

"Simple bunt," Marconi said. "With their guy in the windup, with Winkle on third base, if we just get it down, he's safe. We get it down anywhere and he's safe at home, game over.

"That's the risk you take trying to squeeze, but at the same time, all we're asking our hitters to do is bunt the baseball. It doesn't have to be right down the middle. It doesn't have to be a strike. You just have to be able to reach it and that's it."

The pitch Beemer missed appeared to be out of the zone, but Marconi thought the play shouldn't have resulted the way it did.

"What I saw was a ball that should've at least been fouled off," he said. "Our guys are good enough to at least foul a baseball off."

Prior to Godfrey's game-tying home run, the Cardinals' offense struggled to locate the ball off of Bores, who worked his sinking fastball to perfection, recording 12 groundouts in nine innings of work.

"He did well," Marconi said. "We knew he was good. He just kept throwing heavy sinkers with some velocity and a very good slider. We knew it was going to be a battle, and at the end of the game, we got to him.

"That's kind of what you have to do. If you can't wear him down early, [you] have to wait until the end of the game when they get tired. And when the pitcher gets tired, he leaves balls up and we have to take advantage, which we did today. I was pleased with that."

For the second consecutive game, the Cardinals (4-18, 1-4) fell in extra innings. Defeat doesn't get any easier to deal with for a team that has now dropped 11 of its last 12 games.

"We've played well these last two games," Marconi said. "We've played very well. At the end of the day, it's a loss. We just haven't closed the deal, and that's the frustrating part."


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