Ball State baseball swept by Bowling Green in a three-game homestand

Inconsistent pitching and fielding from Cardinals leads to record-setting hitting from the Falcons in the Battle of the Birds

<p>Junior pitcher Lucas Letsinger pitches to Bowling Green March 15 at First Merchants Ball Park Complex. Letsinger was the second pitcher used for Ball State during the game against Bowling Green. Isabella Kemper, DN</p>

Junior pitcher Lucas Letsinger pitches to Bowling Green March 15 at First Merchants Ball Park Complex. Letsinger was the second pitcher used for Ball State during the game against Bowling Green. Isabella Kemper, DN

When the Ball State Cardinals (11-9, 1-5 MAC) matched up with the Bowling Green Falcons (8-8, 6-0 MAC) in their first game of a three-game series on Friday, it looked like a great opportunity for the Cardinals to get back on track after losing their first home series of the season against another Mid-American Conference (MAC) opponent, Eastern Michigan. 

Ahead of their series, the matchup appeared to be a favorable one for the Cardinals. Bowling Green has had notable inconsistency within their pitching staff to begin this season, accumulating only five wins before facing Ball State. Pitching inconsistency proved to be a major factor throughout this series as well, but not for the Falcons. 

Three games later, Ball State delivered three consecutive poor pitching performances that led to three successive Bowling Green victories. The Cardinals were unable to capitalize against the Falcons, but Ball State’s pitchers can't be blamed solely for the losses, with the Cardinals’ fielders accumulating a total of 10 fielding errors throughout the three-game set.

“We have to do better; there’s no question about it,” head coach Rich Maloney said. “We know we are capable, but we’re just not playing good baseball right now.”

It was all offense between these two squads throughout the Cardinal’s three-game homestand, but after giving up 54 runs between three games, Ball State couldn’t keep up. 

“We really didn’t do bad on offense,” Maloney said. “We scored some runs, but we just didn’t score nearly enough because they scored a ton of runs. They beat us fair and square.”

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Junior catcher Mattew Gonzalez gets tagged out between second and third base against Bowling Green March 15 at First Merchants Ball Park Complex. Gonzalaz caught for the entirety of the game. Isabella Kemper, DN

Friday - Game One

Despite a solid start from Ball State’s starting pitcher, junior Nate Blain, who gave up only one earned run through 5.1 innings pitched in the Cardinals’ opening contest with the Falcons, Ball State lost to Bowling Green, 4-5. 

Junior Lucas Letsinger, who subbed in for Blain, gave up three earned runs through 2.1 innings pitched. 

Ball State had no problem on the offensive end, however, with seniors Nick Gregory and Decker Scheffler hitting home runs along with sophomore Blake Bevis.

Saturday - Game Two

In game two of the series against Bowling Green, Ball State faced an offensive onslaught from the Falcons. Despite the Cardinals improving their hit totals from game one, Bowling Green more than tripled their game one totals, collecting 27 hits in their record-breaking game two showcase.

Ball State held the lead early in the game after junior Matthew Gonzalez hit a grand slam in the bottom of the third frame, but was unable to keep pace with the Falcons through the final six innings. 

With a final score of 34-8, Bowling Green broke its program record for most runs scored in a conference game. 

Sunday - Game Three

The final game of Ball State’s second conference series was very similar to its previous two outings, as the Cardinals found themselves unable to keep up with a scorching Bowling State offense. 

Similarly, the game began with another commonality for the Cardinals as their starting pitcher, junior Jacob Hartlaub, overthrew third base on a failed pickoff attempt to give Bowling Green its first run and Ball State its first error. 

Fielding errors and pitching plagued the Cardinals all day, accumulating four errors and giving up runs in eight consecutive innings. 

“For 17 games, we had the best ERA in the league overall,” said Maloney. “Two weeks ago, we had the best fielding percentage in the league. We’ve run into a funk on all facets in the last two weeks.” 

Three consecutive home runs in the 7th inning on Ball State’s relief pitcher, senior Sam Klein, put the nail in the coffin for the Cardinals, who would go on to lose their final game of the series, 8-15.

“We ran into a hot team, and they played out of their minds,” Maloney said. “You’ve just got to tip your hat off to them.” 

Ball State looks to bounce back at Brown Field with a victory over Valparaiso when they face off on March 19.

Contact Nick Shelton with comments via email at or on X @NickS9954


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