Given the in-state circumstances and the acclaimed background of each squad, Ball State V. Indiana was a contest many fans of each side may have circled on their respective calendars. 29 combined runs, 27 combined hits and eight total home runs later, it did not leave those same fans desperate for offense.
Ball State came out of the gates hot, as a grand slam from junior right fielder Decker Scheffler put the Cardinals up 4-0 in the first inning. Indiana didn’t waste time responding, scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning, including a two run home run from sophomore designated hitter Carter Mathison.
By the top of the second inning, each squad’s starting pitcher had been replaced. But the Cardinals didn’t let a new face on the mound affect them, scoring four more runs in the second inning, two of which coming off a home run from senior second baseman Zach Lane.
Senior right handed pitcher Tanner Knapp held the Hoosiers scoreless in the second and third innings, before allowing two runs to start the bottom of the fourth inning and being replaced by left handed pitcher Brady Owens. The freshman didn’t fare much better, allowing six runs to cap off an eight-run fourth inning for Indiana. Three of the eight runs came courtesy of a home run from sophomore first baseman Brock Tibbitts.
In the top of the fifth, Indiana had an 11-8 lead, but senior shortstop Adam Tellier quickly changed that, tying the game with a three-run home run.
Ultimately, it was the bottom of the sixth inning where Indiana separated itself from Ball State until the final out. Ball State’s fourth pitcher, sophomore right hander Logan Schulfer, couldn’t hold the tie, allowing four runs, two of which coming from Tibbitts’ second long ball of the contest.
Although freshman first baseman Blake Bevis and sophomore catcher Hunter Dobbins each hit solo home runs to try and will the Cardinals back into the contest, their efforts fell short as the Hoosiers (23-10, 7-2 B1GTEN) triumphed 16-13.
“We had some opportunities to make some plays and fell a bit short,” Ball State head coach Rich Maloney said via text message. “When two good teams play it often comes down to who makes a timely play, a timely pitch, or gets a timely hit. Today they made a couple of timely plays that we were unable to make.”
The Cardinals (23-9, 10-2 MAC) return to action April 14 at 3 p.m., as they begin their weekend series against Central Michigan (17-13, 7-5 MAC) in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Contact Kyle Smedley with comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KyleSmedley_.