Ball State baseball played its second extra-inning game of the week Sunday afternoon against Bowling Green, and this time, the Cardinals (19-19, 7-8 MAC) were able to pull out a 9-6 victory in 10 innings to win the series.
Bowling Green starter Tyler Anderson struggled to find the strike zone early on, as he issued a pair of walks and hit three batters in just over two innings. When he did throw strikes, the Ball State batters jumped on them, lighting up Anderson for four earned runs on three hits. The Cardinals would take a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the third.
Ball State sophomore Mike Pachmayer showed promise through the two and two-thirds innings pitched in his first collegiate start on the mound. However, his second time through the order didn’t do him any favors as he began to struggle with two outs in the third. The Falcons would score three runs on five consecutive two-out hits, putting an end to Pachmayer’s day.
After senior Seth Freed's sacrifice fly in the fifth and sophomore Noah Powell's RBI double in the eighth, Ball State took a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Opposed to Friday, this afternoon had more of the same comeback heroics from the Falcons, as they scored twice in the ninth on a game-tying Randy Righter single. Ball State would get the final out of the inning to force extras.
“We got to be able to close games consistently if we’re going to win,” Ball State head coach Rich Maloney said. “We’ve got to continue to hit in guys with less than two outs. We’re still very average at that. But I think the gap is within reach, I really believe that.”
Redshirt freshman Tim Blankenberger led off the top of the 10th inning with a walk, to mark the eighth Ball State leadoff batter to reach base on the day. Maloney said getting the leadoff batter on base allowed his team to play more small ball and manufacture runs late in games.
Freshman Drey Jameson would pinch run for Blankenberger and later score on a fielding error. Two batters later, Freed drove in two with a single that also brought two more errors.
Bowling Green had no answer, and Ball State took the series finale 9-6. This was Ball State’s first conference series win since late March when it took down current Mid-American Conference leader Kent State two games to one.
“I’m proud of the boys’ resiliency because they sure show it,” Maloney said. “They keep fighting back. When adversity hits them, they keep fighting back. I give them a lot of credit for that.”
Ball State will head home to play Indiana State Wednesday at 3 p.m.