With the bases loaded, Ball State had a chance to complete a rally to tie the game and possibly take the lead in the top of the ninth.

A hard hit ball to third had a chance to do just that but was knocked down and the Central Michigan third baseman recovered in time to step on third base and end a wild game at 6-5.

The game featured a back-and-forth affair with both teams exchanging blows early before Central Michigan took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Sophomore right-hander T.J. Weir got the start for the Cardinals and pitched well enough to last six innings despite giving up six runs - four of them earned - on eight hits and two walks.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Ball State was the return of former Friday starter senior right-hander Cal Bowling, who pitched an inning after breaking his hand in frustration earlier in the year. He relieved Weir in the seventh and completed one inning allowing just a walk and striking out two Central Michigan batters looking.

The offense took advantage of five errors from Central Michigan with senior outfielder Wes Winkle going 3-5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.

Ball State will continue the series at 2 p.m. Saturday against Central Michigan.