Explosive opening carries Ball State baseball over USI

<p>First baseman Blake Bevis celebrates after hitting a home run against Southern Indiana March 26 at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Andrew Berger, DN</p>

First baseman Blake Bevis celebrates after hitting a home run against Southern Indiana March 26 at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Andrew Berger, DN

Early offense has rarely been a problem for the Ball State Cardinals (14-12, 2-7 MAC) in 2024, and Tuesday was no different as the Cardinals coasted past the USI Screaming Eagles (11-13, 1-2) after erupting for five home runs in the first five innings. 

The Cardinals’ bats were connecting all throughout the contest in First Merchants Ball Park, with three Ball State batters netting three RBIs apiece. 

“It’s been a tough road for us,” head coach Rich Maloney said. “It was really nice to see our guys respond, get those runs early, and to get to win two in a row. It’s nice to be back on the winning track.”

Ball State opened the first inning with consecutive home runs from the bats of sophomore Blake Bevis, senior Clay Jacobs and junior Hunter Dobbins to give the Cardinals an early four-run lead as Bevis brought senior Decker Scheffler home, who made it to first off a pitcher’s choice to open the inning. 

After a no-run half inning from Ball State’s starting pitcher, junior Lucas Letsinger, the Cardinals continued their offensive in the second frame in the form of an RBI double to center field from Scheffler that brought home another two runs for the Cardinals. 

Rain clouds began to roll in throughout the next couple innings as the Cardinals continued to trickle in runs. Junior Nick Husovsky earned an inside-the-park home run in the middle of the third frame before Jacobs followed up with his second home run of the day in the fourth. 

“Clay Jacobs — I mean, what do you say — it was Clay Jacobs’ day with those two rockets,” said Maloney.

Ball State rounded out scoring for the day in the fifth with a pair of RBIs from Scheffler and senior Michael Hallquist. 

Ball State’s seven-foot senior, Will Jacobson, closed the game with a no-hit inning, but it was the Cardinals’ starter that led the way for their pitching core. Letsigner earned three consecutive no-run innings to open the game for Ball State. 

“Lucas did a really nice job,” Maloney said. “I was very pleased and happy for him because we need to get him going. He needs to be a big part of any success that we’ll have moving forward.” 

Despite the day being highlighted by hitting, the Cardinals also benefited from solid fielding and production from their bullpen. Ball State earned zero errors and gave up five total runs on the day.

“We’re hoping that this can carry into the weekend because we’re going to need to find a way to win the series against Ohio,” Maloney said.

Ball State returns to First Merchants Ballpark for a three-game series against the Bobcats, which starts on March 28. The first pitch is set for 3 p.m. 

Contact Nick Shelton with comments via email at nicholas.shelton@bsu.edu or on X @NickS9954


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