In the top of the ninth inning, Ball State junior right-handed pitcher BJ Butler had runners on second and third with two outs, a one-run lead and Xavier University senior catcher Daniel Rizzie at the plate.
Butler fell behind in the count, 2-0, but Rizzie popped the ball up to redshirt freshman third baseman Zach Milam for the final out of the Cardinals’ 5-4 win. Butler earned his seventh save of the season.
Ball State (18-12, 4-2 MAC) jumped out to a 5-2 lead after three innings, but Xavier (10-19, 0-0 MAC) scored two in the top of the fifth to close the gap to one.
Two of the Cardinals’ runs were knocked in by junior left fielder Zach Plesac’s first-inning bases-loaded double to center field.
Junior first baseman Caleb Stayton was 2-2 at the plate with two walks, a run scored and an RBI. As a whole, Ball State batters were 10-33 at the plate with five walks.
On the mound, the Cardinals limited the Musketeers to six hits and five walks. Freshman right-handed pitcher Evan Marquardt was credited with his first win of the season after relieving starter Colin Brockhouse in the third inning.
Ball State begins a three-game series against Mid-American Conference opponent Western Michigan April 8. First pitch is at 3 p.m. at Ball Diamond at First Merchants Ballpark Complex.