“If getting run-ruled doesn’t motivate you then I don’t know what does,” Ball State Baseball (21-14, 15-4 MAC) head coach Rich Maloney said.
After run ruling Akron (11-24, 9-15 MAC) 16-0 three days prior, Ball State experienced the same fate against Western Michigan (12-21, 9-10 MAC), losing 14-2 after the Broncos put up a six-run fifth inning and seven-run eighth. This was the first time over the course of the season the Cardinals have been run-ruled.
In a preseason interview, Maloney said there would be a handful of games over the course of the season where the Cardinals would experience the highs of a run-rule win and the lows of a run-rule loss. From this loss, Maloney said Ball State will use it as motivation going into the rest of the season and it's upcoming series against Northern Illinois (7-27, 6-12 MAC).
The Cardinals started the game off well as fifth-year first baseman Trenton Quartermaine hit his 11th home run of the season to give Ball State the 1-0 lead. At that point in the game, Ball State starting pitcher, senior right-handed pitcher Ty Weatherly, had not allowed a hit.
In the bottom of the third, senior second baseman Jimmy McIntyre hit a home run for the Broncos to tie the game at one. Shortly after, the Broncos struck for six runs in the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the seventh, the Cardinals scored their only other run of the game courtesy of a RBI single from freshman designated hitter Hunter Dobbins. With the score 7-2, the Broncos ended the game in the eighth inning with seven more runs.
Sophomore first baseman Cade Sullivan finished 2 for 4 with a home run, a single and five RBIs, nearly providing half of Western Michigan’s runs.
Maloney said he does not attribute the 48-hour turnaround to Ball State’s loss, as Western Michigan was in the same situation. Maloney said games like these happen in Major League Baseball (MLB), Minor League Baseball (MILB) and Division I college baseball, and the Cardinals will bounce back.
“For whatever reason, we were outplayed in all facets of the game today,” Maloney said. “We will flush this one, learn from our mistakes and get ready for Northern Illinois.”
The Cardinals have lost two games in a row, their first time doing so in conference play. However, Ball State remains in second place in the MAC, as their conference winning percentage is .267 higher than third place Toledo (18-17, 12-11 MAC).
The Cardinals return to action in Dekalb, Illinois to compete in a four-game series against Northern Illinois, April 22-24. Game one is scheduled for April 22 at 4 p.m.