Cardinals brave elements, beat Ohio 17-14

Ball State’s junior infielder Sean Kennedy congratulates junior infielder Alex Maloney on making it back to home base during the game against Dayton on March 18. DN PHOTO GRACE RAMEY
Ball State’s junior infielder Sean Kennedy congratulates junior infielder Alex Maloney on making it back to home base during the game against Dayton on March 18. DN PHOTO GRACE RAMEY

Statistics

Ball State batters: 16-38 (.421 average), 17 runs, 3 HR, 9 BB

Ohio batters: 15-40 (.375 average), 14 runs, 2 HR, 8 BB


Junior right fielder Alex Call stepped up to the plate for the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and runners on second and third.

Ball State (16-12, 3-2 MAC) had already scored a run in the inning, cutting the Ohio University (11-15, 2-3 MAC) lead to 13-11. It was the seventh unanswered run for the Cardinals, who trailed 13-4 after the top of the fifth inning.

Call knocked the first pitch he saw from Bobcat sophomore right-handed pitcher Logan Jacik toward right field. Call raised his arms and started screaming as he rounded first base and the ball cleared the fence.

Ball State was ahead, 14-13.

"From that moment, I just started screaming and screamed all the way around the bases," he said. "Probably the most emotional trip around the bases I've had."

Ohio answered with a run in the top of the eight, but Ball State scored three more in the bottom half of the inning. Junior right-handed pitcher B.J. Butler then shut down the Bobcats in the top of the ninth, earning his first win of the season after allowing one hit and striking out two in 1.1 innings.

Both teams had to fight through tough conditions. WCRD Weather reported winds upwards of 45 mph and there was a mix of rain, snow and hail throughout the game. The umpires even had to stop the game briefly because the winds, which were blowing out to right field, moved the portable batting cage toward right field.

Call said he had difficulty trying to put it back.

"I was trying to yell at the umpire, but he couldn't hear me," he said. "So I was waving my arms for about 20 seconds, and then he finally saw me. I don't know, the cage was inside the door, so the door couldn't shut. I had to bring the cage back, so it would open up."

Head coach Rich Maloney said he thought there was a chance the game might be delayed for more than the 30 seconds or so it took to right the cage, but the umpires decided to play through. 

"Once we were going through it, we might as well finish it," he said. "... If you wait, you're just gonna be cold."

The cold, windy conditions had the most severe effects on the pitching staffs. The pitchers combined for 17 walks, 9 wild pitches and hit two batters.

Hitters, however, took advantage of the friendly gusts. The two teams totaled 31 hits, eight doubles, a triple and five home runs.

Call finished the game a single shy of a triple. He was 3-4 with four runs scored, five RBIs, two walks, a double, a triple and the three-run home run that cut the gap.

Ball State and Ohio will face off again April 3 at 1 p.m. in the series finale.


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