Freshman outfielder Joe Gunn celebrates with his teammates after a score during the game against Dayton at the Ball Baseball Diamond on March 18. The Cardinals hosted a double header for this season's home opener and won both games. The Cardinals won 6-0 in the first game and 4-3 in the second game. Kyle Crawford, DN
Ball State Baseball splits doubleheader, wins series against Eastern Michigan
In efforts to avoid the predicted bad weather for Sunday, Ball State and Eastern Michigan played two on Saturday afternoon.
After winning the first matchup, the Cardinals lost at home for the first time since last season when Western Michigan won 10-5. This was only the second away win for the Eagles this season.
“We won the series, but we didn’t get what we wanted,” head coach Rich Maloney said. “Give Eastern a lot of credit. Our guys fought hard all the way until the end we just didn’t have enough in us.”
Before Saturday’s contest, junior John Baker had a 1.24 ERA over 29 innings pitched. Baker kicked off the first game by striking out the first three batters he faced. A hit against Baker was not recorded until the sixth batter of the game singled to left field.
The first run of the doubleheader came on an RBI single to center by redshirt sophomore Tim Blankenberger in the bottom of the second inning. The Eagles answered by scoring a runner from first base on a triple to deep left-center field. The scoring continued as Baker gave up his second home run of the season to a long shot over the right-center field wall.
The Eagles’ lead was short lived as a sac fly by junior Ross Messina and a home run by senior John Ricotta tied up the game in the third. The Cardinals would go on to add one more to end the third inning with a 4-3 lead.
“It is always a good lift for the team [to get a home run,” Ricotta said. “We just stuck to our approach and tried to hit the ball hard up the middle.”
In the sixth inning, freshman Nick Floyd came in to relieve Baker. Baker’s final line includes seven strikeouts, five earned runs, two walks and seven hits allowed. Floyd came in and dealt to the Eagles by throwing four shutout innings with three strikeouts and three hits allowed.
“[Floyd] did a great job,” Maloney said. “He was huge for our team. He gave us a lift that we needed.”
The Cardinals tallied three homers in game one. Ball State out-hit Eastern Michigan 14-8 with no errors contributed to the home team. Six Cardinals had a multi-hit game before taking on the Eagles in game two.
“I thought we swung the bat pretty well,” Maloney said. “We just couldn't get the big inning in the second game today.”
For the second game, freshman Chayce McDermott took the mound for the Cardinals. The Eagles wasted no time getting into it on offense with back-to-back hits to start the game. McDermott was able to pitch out of the jam and strand two runners in scoring position.
Ball State ended up falling to Eastern Michigan 7-5. Although Ball State was able to record more hits, the Cardinals were unable to get runs across the plate.