The Ball State Cardinals (36-17, 20-5 MAC) defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies (19-34, 14-12 MAC) 10-4 in the Cardinals’ first game of the Mid-American Conference Baseball Championship Thursday at the Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio.
The Huskies came out strong with Brendan Joyce and Tommy Szczasny scoring runs in the first inning.
However, Ball State retaliated with Aaron Simpson scoring a run and Chase Sebby hitting a double to the left center field scoring Ross Messina and William Baker making the score 3-2.
The Cardinals furthered their lead in the second inning with William Baker hitting a double to the right center field, scoring Simpson and Noah Powell making the score 5-2.
The Huskies lessened the gap in the third inning with Joyce scoring on a wild pitch and Dylan Lonteen also scoring a run, still leaving the Ball State ahead by a run.
In the fifth inning, the Cardinals continued scoring with Sebby making a run, furthering the lead.
In the seventh inning, Powell made a homer scoring Griffin Hulecki and John Ricotta bringing the score 9-4.
The Cardinals sealed their domination over the Huskies with Baker scoring a run in the eighth inning and the Huskies unable to score in the ninth, their sixth consecutive without a run scored.
“It was outstanding,” said Head Coach Rich Maloney about the Cardinals’ win. “It was a total team victory.”
Maloney said a lot of Cardinals contributed to the victory over the Huskies, mentioning Messina’s big hitting, Powell having a great game and sophomore outfielder and pitcher Drey Jameson’s record breaking performance.
“[Jameson] struck out 10 guys in six innings,” Maloney said. “Broke the all time strikeout record in the Mid-American Conference.”
According to Ball State Sports’ website, Jameson’s 10 strike outs now puts him at a total of 146 strikeouts on the season, breaking the school record of 139 set in 2002 by Bryan Bullington and the MAC record of 141 held by Joe Murray from Kent State.
“We’re just trying to win the game … ” Maloney said about the Cardinals’ next championship game against number one seed Central Michigan.
Going into the game against the Chippewas, Powell said the team will “just stay the course no matter what.”
Ball State, now winning seven consecutive games, will face Central Michigan, with a 16-game win streak, 6 p.m. Friday. Beating the Chippewas will take the Cardinals to the MAC Championship final.