The No. 4 Ball State baseball team defeated No. 1 Kent State on Friday. The Cardinals are now the highest remaining unbeaten seed in the 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Likely the biggest factor for Ball State in its 3-1 victory was junior T.J. Weir. The right-hander pitched his first complete-game of the season, reaching a total of 142 throws on the day.
Weir held the Golden Flashes scoreless through 8.5 innings, but failed to complete the shutout game after Kent State loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth.
Weir did well to hold the tournament-favorites to just one run, as he attempted to work his way out of the late-game jam.
After a brief discussion with coach Rich Maloney on the mound, he forced a hit to center field where Elbert DeVarie was able to make a play to second, ending Kent State’s rally – and the game.
Weir notched seven strike outs on the day, and allowed seven hits and one earned run. Kent State had not been held to one run in any game since falling to Notre Dame on March 26.
Ryan Spaulding, Blake Beemer, and DeVarie each grabbed one of Ball State’s runs. The Cardinals registered 7 hits on the day, in what was quite the pitching duel.
It appeared as though neither starting pitcher would budge, but Kent State’s starter Tyler Skulina was relieved after seven innings.
Ball State took advantage, and loaded the bases with a ninth-inning rally to eventually produce a pair of game-deciding runs.
The win, paired with the fact that T.J. Weir was able to pitch the complete game, leaves Ball State with fresh pitchers in junior Tyler Jordan, and seniors Jon Cisna and Chris Marangon.
Two wins separate the Ball State baseball team from its first MAC Championship game since 2006, when it won the tournament and advanced to NCAA Regionals.
The Cardinals will take on the winner of Kent State and No. 5 Miami on Saturday at 9 a.m.