Fighting out of an eight-run hole after the first three innings, Ball State University had nothing left in the tank to respond to a late push by the University of Michigan.The Wolverines scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 12-8 victory Friday at Myrtle Beach, S.C. in the Caravelle Resort Classic. Relievers Michael Sandman (0-1) and Heath Riley allowed the final four runs, and Sandman took the loss. Brandon Sinnery (1-0) pitched the final four scoreless innings for the Wolverines, earning the victory.Michigan jumped on starting pitcher Cal Bowling for nine hits and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. Only four of the runs were earned. The Cardinals committed four errors in the game, leading to seven unearned runs.Ball State got back into the game with six runs in the fifth inning. The Cardinals batted around, and second baseman Kolbrin Vitek had a two-run single. After knocking out starting pitcher Matt Miller, the Cardinals scored two runs in the sixth to tie the game against reliever Matt Gerbe. Left fielder Kory Benbow drove in Vitek and right fielder Ryan Chenoweth with a two-RBI single.Michigan wasted little time in retaking the lead. The Wolverines loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth and back-to-back errors allowed them to score four runs. Neither team could scratch out a run in the final three innings, though Ball State stranded five runners in that span.Vitek led the Cardinals offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs. Third baseman Stephen Claypool also had three hits and one RBI.The Cardinals have lost four in a row to Big Ten schools, after starting last year 3-0 against the conference. Ball State will get another shot at the Big Ten on Sunday against the University of Illinois.
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For the third consecutive day Ball State University was unable to shut the door at the end of the game, but the Cardinals came back for the win Tuesday night.Ball State (4-8) defeated the University of North Carolina-Wilmington 7-6 in 11 innings. The previous two days against No. 12 Coastal Carolina University, Ball State held leads late in the game, but ended up with a pair of losses.Shortstop T.J. Baumet made sure that wouldn't happen against the Seahawks, driving in center fielder Wes Winkle for the winning run. Closer Aaron Hammons finished the game to earn his first save of the year, after battling injury throughout the first three weeks.The Cardinals took a 6-2 lead in the ninth inning, but couldn't hold it. Reliever Seth Hobbs blew his second save of the year, but was able to keep the game tied in extra innings. Hobbs became the pitcher of record after Baumet's RBI and earned his second win of the year as well.Baumet went 3-for-5 to lead Ball State. The only other Cardinal with multiple hits in the game was second baseman Mitch Widau, who had two.
Unable to recover from a first-inning deficit, Ball State University lost 7-4 to the College of Charleston on Thursday night in Mount Pleasant, S.C.The Cougars (11-3) a quick 2-0 lead against the Cardinals (4-9) and never relinquished their lead. Starting pitcher Derek Grabner (0-1) took the loss for Ball State after giving up five runs in three innings. Matt Pegler (1-0) earned the victory for Charleston. Ball State scored its first runs in the fifth inning. Kory Benbow drove in the Cardinals' first run with a triple and Stephen Claypool and T.J. Baumet also added RBI. Benbow scored his second run of the game in the seventh inning to cut the gap to 5-4, but Ball State could get no closer. The Patriots added two more runs in the bottom of the inning against reliever Jon Cisna.Benbow went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. Blake Beemer also had two hits for the Cardinals, going 2-for-3 with a run. The game completes a stretch of six consecutive games for Ball State on their Spring Break trip. The Cardinals will take Thursday off before beginning the Caravelle Resort Classic against the University of Michigan on Friday.
Unable to pull out a close game for the second day at No. 12 Coastal Carolina University, Ball State University is forced to be content with knowing it can play with the top teams in the country.
Overcoming a five-run deficit, Ball State University halted its four-game slide with a 10-6 defeat of the University of Albany on Saturday.The Cardinals (3-6) fell behind 6-1 in the second inning, as starting pitcher Scott Brothers delivered the worst start of the season for Ball State. The senior lasted just 1 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits. But freshmen Jon Cisna and Michael Sandman combined for 7 2/3 shutout innings, and Ball State's offense rallied for nine runs.Saturday was just Brothers' second start for Ball State, but followed a great outing last weekend. The right-hander allowed five hits in the second inning before he was replaced by Cisna.The Cardinals tied the game with four runs in the fifth and took the lead on a sacrifice fly from second baseman Kolbrin Vitek in the seventh.Vitek drove in two runs, despite not having a hit against the Great Danes. Ball State was led offensively by left fielder Kory Benbow, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs. Shortstop T.J. Baumet also had three hits and three RBI.Cisna earned his first collegiate win and Sandman picked up his first save. The two combined to allow only three hits and tallied six strikeouts. Also, no Ball State pitcher allowed a walk or hit a batter, something that had been a problem in the first two weeks of the season.Ball State will continue the Caravelle Resort Invitational with a game against No. 13 Coastal Carolina University today.
Ball State University lost its fourth straight game Friday, falling 8-5 to the University of Pittsburgh at the Caravelle Resort Invitational in Conway, S.C.Starting pitcher Cal Bowling (0-2) allowed five runs in five innings for the loss. Junior Corey Baker started the game for the Panthers and allowed four runs in six innings, picking up his third victory of the season. Reliever J.R. Leonardi earned the save, pitching the final three innings of the game for the Panthers.The Cardinals (2-6) failed to take advantage of their opportunities, stranding 11 runners. Catcher Zach Dygert led Ball State, going 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBi.Ball State will continue the tournament Saturday against the University at Albany at 7 p.m.
Greg Beals will give the Ball State University rotation a shakeup this weekend at the Caravelle Resort Invitational hosted by Coastal Carolina University this weekend.Brad Piatt, who has been the Friday starter this year, will not pitch until Tuesday, and Cal Bowling will move up a spot. Joining the rotation will be seniors Morgan Coombs and Scott Brothers, Jr. Beals said with Ball State playing nine games in 10 days during Spring Break, he wants to play more matchups. Piatt will start Tuesday at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and then again next weekend."This will allow Piatt to put more time and effort in his bullpen sessions this week," Beals said. "We have nine games in 10 days, all the guys will have to give us quality innings."Piatt has not pitched well in his two starts this season. He is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in 6 2/3 innings against the University of Arkansas and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Coombs and Brothers are typically relievers, but Brothers started last weekend at UAB and threw six innings, allowing two runs. Coombs has a victory and a save this season, and leads the Cardinals in innings pitched with nine.Beals hopes Spring Break can provide some clarity to his club, which is 2-5 on the young season."We want to come to some conclusion as to where we're at," he said. Ball State's toughest test of the trip will come against No. 13 Coastal Carolina (5-1) on Sunday and Monday. The Chanticleers have become the gold standard for mid-major baseball programs."I have a lot of respect for what they're doing down there," Beals said. "They play a good, clean game of baseball. They're really well disciplined."Ball State has played Coastal Carolina five times since Beals became head coach at Ball State in 2003. They recently played in 2008, in a trip that right fielder Ryan Chenoweth enjoyed."From what I've seen, they've changed a lot of things down there," the senior said. "I'm excited to see what they've been able to do."Before the Cardinals get to take on the Chanticleers, however, they will play the University of Pittsburgh (5-1) and the University at Albany (0-3). First baseman Ian Nielsen thinks playing different teams in a weekend forces players to focus more."It keeps you more focused on the details of the game," he said. "When you're playing a new team, you're really looking for details."Chenoweth said he likes playing different teams during a weekend."You get to see teams from different conferences," he said. "You're seeing different parts of the country, different styles of play."However, with Spring Break upon Ball State, all the Cardinals really care about is getting a chance to play."I'm just looking forward to getting away and playing a lot of ball," Chenoweth said.
Ball State University second baseman Kolbrin Vitek was named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week for the second straight week Tuesday.The junior hit .389 with three home runs in a four game series at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Vitek also slugged .944 and scored six runs. In the Cardinals' win Friday, Vitek went 3-for-5 and finished a triple short of the cycle. Vitek has won both Player of the Week award given out this year. The preseason All-American also won the award once last year and has also been MAC West Pitcher of the Week twice in his career.
Thrust into the eighth inning of a tie ballgame on the road, right-hander Seth Hobbs didn't disappoint his Ball State University teammates and coaches.
The weekend started well for Ball State University and its bullpen.Right-handers Perci Garner, Seth Hobbs and Morgan Coombs combined for 5 1/3 innings of relief, allowing just one run. The strong pitching allowed Ball State to defeat the University of Alabama at Birmingham 9-5 Friday night.After that win, however, the Cardinals bullpen struggled and Ball State (2-5) lost the final three games of the series. Ball State got solid starts from Cal Bowling, Scott Brothers Jr. and Kolbrin Vitek, but all three came away without a victory. In the final three games, nine relievers combined to go 0-2 with three blown saves, a 9.75 ERA and 17 walks in 12 innings of work. "I thought the pitching staff as a whole was good," coach Greg Beals said. "We got three great starts. We just had some lapses in the bullpen that cost us two games. In the third and fourth games, we had good leads and were playing good baseball, and the bullpen couldn't hold it."The Cardinals lost 6-0 in game one of Saturday's doubleheader and dropped the nightcap 10-9 in 12 innings. Sunday, UAB (3-2) came from behind to win 6-5.Ball State's bullpen was stretched by the doubleheader Saturday. The Cardinals were without closer Aaron Hammons for the second weekend in a row to open the season. Hammons' injury forced coach Greg Beals to use different pitchers at the end of games."It would have helped having Hammons," he said. "But we just didn't have a couple young men come in and perform. It wasn't the pitching staff as a whole and it wasn't the bullpen as a whole."Vitek said his teammates simply need to be ready when called upon."We just reminded them that they need to come in and do their jobs," the junior said. "They need to throw strikes. That's their job."Beals was able to take lots of positives out of the weekend because of strong performance in other areas of the club. Except for being shutout in the first game Saturday, Ball State scored enough runs to win and its starting pitchers kept them in every game.Vitek, a preseason All-American, stood out again. He hit two home runs and drove in four runs against UAB. Vitek is hitting .438 and slugging .844 through the first seven games."I've just been keeping up the same swing I've been working on all winter long and taking it to the plate in games," he said.Learning from the series loss is important, Beals said. Ball State will play nine games in its Spring Break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and it needs to be ready."We've seen what those guys can do," Beals said. "Now [the coaching staff] needs to make better decisions in the future with what we've learned."
The bullpen heroics of Friday faded into the setting sun Saturday, as Ball State University blew not one, but two save opportunities in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Scoring five runs in the final two innings, Ball State University spoiled the University of Alabama at Birmingham's home opener with a 9-5 win Friday night.
Stymied by UAB starting pitcher Beau Pender, Ball State dropped the first game of Saturday's doubleheader 6-0.The Cardinals (2-3) were held to just three hits by Pender (1-0) and reliever Nick Graffeo. The Blazers (1-2) scored a run in the first inning, which proved to be all they would need. The victory was UAB's first of the year.After allowing the run in the first, Ball State starter Cal Bowling (0-1) settled down and retired nine batters in a row. However, he ran into trouble again in the fifth inning when a two-out walk to second baseman Nick Crawford proved costly.The Blazers put the game out of reach with three runs in the seventh inning off reliever Morgan Coombs, who earned the save Friday night. But the Cardinals' lack of offense largely made the insurance runs unnecessary. Pender kept Ball State off balance for seven innings, striking out nine. Right fielder Ryan Chenoweth was the only Cardinal to reach third base all game. He doubled to lead off the fourth inning and advanced to third on a balk. However, Pender struck out first baseman Ian Nielsen and left fielder Kory Benbow to end the Ball State threat.All-American second baseman Kolbrin Vitek was held hitless for the first time all year. The junior went 0-for-4, and did not hit the ball out of the infield. Continue to check bsudailynews.com for updates throughout the second game of the doubleheader and read Sunday's issue of The Ball State Daily News online for full coverage of the action.
If opening weekend was about playing nationally-ranked competition in an NCAA Tournament venue for Ball State University, then its four-game series at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is about winning games.Ball State won once in their three-game series at then-No. 15 University of Arkansas last weekend, which pleased coach Greg Beals. But now, Beals and the rest of the Cardinals expect more against the Blazers."This weekend is about us playing good baseball," he said. "It's not going to be our first weekend out. Winning that game at Arkansas was nice, but we need to play better baseball than we did."The series will be one of the rare times in college baseball where a Northern team will have more games under their belt than the Southern team. UAB has played just once, opening their season with a 6-5 loss at Mississippi State University.Blazers coach Brian Schoop said their schedule was already set when the NCAA added a 14th week to the season."We would have had to cancel some games to add another weekend series, and we didn't want to do that," he said. Neither Schoop or Beals expects Ball State's extra two games to play a difference in the series. UAB has been able to practice outside throughout the preseason, while Ball State can only hope to get outside sometime after Spring Break."They've been out on the grass, out on the dirt," Beals said. "I don't really feel like we'll be ahead of them." But after getting outside for the first time all year in Arkansas, the Cardinals were able to find some aspects of their game to work on."We worked on keeping runners close to second base, as well as baserunning," outfielder Kirby Campbell said. "Just little things that once you get outside you can see that you can't necessarily see inside."Beals said he expects his pitchers to throw more strikes at UAB. The Cardinals issued 16 walks and hit nine batters during the series. The pitch counts of the starting pitchers will also go up. Last weekend, no starter threw more than four innings.Starters extending their outings will be especially important Saturday when Ball State and UAB play a doubleheader. Ball State will added senior Scott Brothers Jr. to the rotation for the doubleheader."Scott had a great fall and a great offseason," Beals said. "It's more of a situation where its a reward, where he deserves the next nod."Brothers was used exclusively as a reliever last year after transferring from Gulf Coast Community College. He appeared in 16 games and had an ERA of 3.86.While UAB is not at the same level of Arkansas, Ball State will not be taking them lightly. Beals said the Blazers remind him of his own team."They're a solid team that forces you to beat them," Beals said. "They're not going to make a lot of mistakes."
The bus had only left Baum Stadium a few hours before, but Ball State University catcher Zach Dygert was ready to go back.Ball State opened the season with a three-game series at the University of Arkansas, playing in what is widely considered to be one of the best college baseball stadiums in the country.The Cardinals took one game from the No. 15 team in the country, playing in front of crowds as large as 5,827."It was one of the nicest and most enjoyable experiences, as far as atmosphere goes, in my career," Dygert said. "I'd love to go back for another weekend. I had a really good time."Before the series, coach Greg Beals said he scheduled the series to prepare Ball State for the NCAA Tournament. "Our goal is to play in a Regional," Beals said. "So before we get there I wanted to play in some Regional environments."Arkansas has hosted four NCAA Regionals and one Super Regional in Baum Stadium. The field can hold more than 10,000 fans, and looks more like a minor league ballpark. Since it opened, both Baseball American and rivals.com have named it the best collegiate stadium in the nation. Reliever Morgan Coombs said he had to contain his emotions pitching in front of the large crowds."When you first get out there it's a big adrenaline rush," he said. "You can't get too amped up, because that's when you make mistakes. I had to stay composed."In all, more than 10,000 people attended the series. The number would have been higher, but only 918 fans showed up Sunday after a rain delay. Last year, 15,475 people saw Ball State play all season.Dygert said the ballpark and fans made it easier for the Cardinals to respond with a 5-2 upset Saturday after losing Friday."They have intense fans," Dygert said. "It's a great atmosphere, a great place to play."
Winning its opening weekend series would have been ideal for Ball State University, but beating No. 15 University of Arkansas once will have to do.After losing to the Razorbacks 10-2 on Opening Day, the Cardinals (1-2) responded with a 5-2 victory Saturday. Arkansas (2-1) claimed the three-game series with a 9-3 win Sunday. Coach Greg Beals was proud of the heart his team showed bouncing back from Friday's loss."We played a really good baseball game on Saturday and that's what it requires to beat a team like Arkansas," he said. "We showed a lot of character as a team to take advantage of our second opportunity against them."Friday was the first time Ball State had played on a baseball field since beginning practice three weeks ago. Snow and cold weather has confined them to the Field Sports Building. Catcher Zach Dygert said it was easy to come back from the loss because the Cardinals were just happy to be playing baseball outside."The game on Friday was tough but it was so refreshing to be outside that it was very easy for everybody to bounce back," the senior captain said. "It was a loss, but wasn't a really hard loss. It was great atmosphere and a great place to play. I don't think anyone had trouble getting up to play."Playing in front of a crowd of 5,827 Saturday, Ball State put together a complete game against Arkansas for the upset.The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when second baseman Kolbrin Vitek tripled home right fielder Kirby Campbell and scored on a sacrifice fly. Ball State would never trail to Arkansas, a team that reached the College World Series a year ago.Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said the Cardinals were simply the better team Saturday. "They outplayed us big-time today," he said. "They out-pitched us and out-fielded us. What they did was they got some big hits. They took advantage of the mistakes and I thought their pitching staff did a great job."Ball State used only two pitchers Saturday. Cal Bowling started the game and pitched four innings, allowing one run. Morgan Coombs (1-0) relieved the sophomore and threw five gutsy innings for the victory. The right-hander was in trouble throughout his outing, but was able to escape jam after jam. Arkansas had at least one runner on base in each of the first eight innings and stranded 12 in all. In the seventh inning with the Cardinals clinging to a 3-2 lead, Coombs loaded the bases with a pair of two out walks, bringing preseason All-American Brett Eibner to the plate. Coombs struck out Eibner, ending the inning."They have some big bats in their lineup," Coombs said. "But you can't pitch around them. You've got to hit your spots."Dygert removed much of the drama in the top of the eighth inning with a two-run home run to give Ball State some breathing room."It was a home run off the bat," Beals said. "It took a 3-2 lead to a 5-2 lead and helped everyone relax."Ball State was led by Dygert and preseason All-American Kolbrin Vitek, who combined to go 7-for-9 with four RBIs and four runs. Coombs struck out eight batters in his five innings of work, allowing just one run.Beals said getting sterling performances from Vitek, Dygert and Coombs was the key to the game.Despite a lack of clutch hitting leading to another loss Sunday, the Cardinals were still pleased with their upset Saturday."It's a great feeling for me individually and as a team," Coombs said. "It means we can compete nationally and that we're going to be a good team.
The University of Arkansas quickly made sure Sunday that Ball State University wouldn't score their second upset of the weekend.The No. 15 Razorbacks roughed up Kolbrin Vitek for four runs in the first inning, and they never looked back in their 9-3 win. The Cardinals (1-2) will have to be content with their 5-2 victory Saturday in the opening weekend series. After Arkansas (2-1) starting pitcher Brett Eibner (1-0) struck out the side in the top of the first inning, the hosts came out swinging. The first two hitters reached base, and after Vitek (0-1) retired two Razorbacks. But he wasn't able to get a third out before an RBI single from preseason All-American Zack Cox and an three-run home run from catcher James McCann.Vitek settled down and allowed only one more hit before being lifted after four innings. Arkansas would add another run in the fifth, before Vitek drove in right fielder Ryan Chenoweth with a double for Ball State's first run.The Razorbacks broke the game open with four runs in the seventh inning. The Cardinals attempted a comeback in the eighth inning, adding two runs. Ball State was unable to get clutch hits Sunday, stranding seven runners in scoring position. In contrast, seven of Arkansas' runs came with two outs. Eibner, who was on a pitch count, was awarded the win by the official scorer. The junior allowed two hits in three shutout innings, and struck out five Cardinals. Arkansas pitchers combined to strike out 15 hitters. For full coverage of Ball State's opening weekend at Arkansas, read Monday's edition of The Ball State Daily News.
Rebounding quickly from a disappointing Opening Day loss, Ball State University upset No. 15 University of Arkansas 5-2 Saturday afternoon.
Jumping out to an early lead, Ball State University held on and defeated No. 15 University of Arkansas 5-2 Saturday afternoon.The Cardinals were led by second baseman Kolbrin Vitek who went 4-for-5 with three runs and an RBI. The victory is Ball State's first against a ranked team since it defeated No. 23 Ohio State University 20-8 last year.Morgan Coombs pitched five innings in relief of Cal Bowling for the victory. Coombs allowed one run and struck out eight Razorbacks. The loss went to Arkansas starting pitcher Geoffrey Davenport. The left-hander allowed two runs in four innings.For full coverage of the game, read Sunday's edition of The Ball State Daily News.
Playing outside for the first time all year, Ball State University wasn't quite ready to take on No. 15 University of Arkansas.The Razorbacks defeated the Cardinals 10-2 on opening day in front of 4,847 people, the largest crowd Ball State has played in front of since the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Starting pitcher Brad Piatt (0-1) gave up three runs for the loss.Arkansas started the game with three runs, despite not recording a hit in the first inning against Piatt. The first three Razorbacks to come to the plate in the game all scored after two hit batsmen, two walks, two sacrifice flies and two wild pitches.While the Cardinals did not make any errors in their first trip outdoors, their pitchers never seemed quite comfortable against the experienced Razorback hitters.Ball State cut the deficit to two runs in the fourth inning when second baseman Kolbrin Vitek singled and stole second base. First baseman Ian Nielsen drove him in with a line drive past shortstop Matt Reynolds for an RBI.Two runs were as close as the Cardinals would get, as the Razorbacks extended their lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning against reliever Perci Garner. Arkansas added four more runs over the final three innings.Ball State got their second run in the sixth inning when right fielder Ryan Chenoweth doubled to right field and was driven in by catcher Zach Dygert.The only Cardinal with multiple hits on the day was center fielder Cody Elliott, who went 2-for-4 with a stolen base.Arkansas was led by first baseman Andy Wilkins, who went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs.The two teams will resume their three-game series today at 2 p.m. Arkansas, however, will likely be without second baseman Bo Bigham. The sophomore dove for a ball in the outfield and landed awkwardly on his left arm. He left the game with what was later reported as a dislocated shoulder.Starting Saturday's game for Ball State will be right-hander Cal Bowling. Going for Arkansas is left-hander Drew Smyly.