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Middle relief is one of the thankless roles in baseball.There's no neat and tidy stat that truly quantifies what a good middle reliever does for his team.This weekend, Ball State University saw what a quality performance in that role can mean.Left-hander Derek Grabner pitched in all three of Ball State's victories against Miami University, allowing two hits and no runs in 3 1/3 innings."He's a very good complement between our starting pitching and our bullpen," coach Greg Beals said.It wasn't long ago that it looked like Grabner might have pitched himself out of a job. In his first three appearances, the junior college transfer allowed 12 runs in four innings. He walked four and allowed 10 hits. By the time it was all done, his ERA was 24.75."What's changed is more confidence," he said. "You come in with a team and it's a little shaky. You want to do what you know you can and need to do."Now Grabner is on a 7 2/3 scoreless-innings streak and picked up his first win Sunday. Grabner will take the win even if he feels like he might not deserve it."Coming in there was no thought in my mind looking at the win," Grabner said. "I knew Kolbrin [Vitek] threw a good game so far and got into a tough spot. My only focus was to get him out of the jam. To come in with 4 2/3 already done and just throw 1/3 of an inning and get a win, it's baseball. You've just got to go in and do your job."Flight number one: Third baseman Stephen Claypool hit his first career home run Saturday off RedHawks starter Brooks Fiala.Claypool picked a good time for his first collegiate round-tripper, as Ball State had surrendered the lead the previous inning."It was the first one of my career, so it was definitely pretty cool," Claypool said.The freshman went 5-for-9 this weekend and is hitting .325 for the year. After a somewhat sluggish start that saw his average dip to .205 during Spring Break, Claypool seems to have figured out the college game."He was recruited because he's a good hitter," Beals said. "I think more than anything he's just getting comfertable. He's at about 87 plate apperances, and right around 100 at bats, good hitters in their freshman year start to settle in a little bit, start hitting not like freshmen anymore."Claypool hit another home run Sunday, sparking a three-homer inning by Ball State.Treading lightly: Vitek had the attention of the Mid-American Conference a long time ago, but his recent national player of the week award was a good reminder to his talent.Miami looked determined to make sure the All-American second baseman didn't win himself another accolade this weekend.Vitek was walked four times in the series, three on Sunday. He was twice given an intentional pass. The RedHawks strategy was never more evident than Sunday when Mac Thoreson started the game with seven consecutive strikes, only to walk Vitek on five pitches.When Vitek did get a pitch to hit, he usually did something with it. The junior went 5-for-10 with seven RBIs and a home run in the series.Vitek, part II: Not only did Sunday give Ball State fans a glimpse of what Vitek will likely face the rest of the year, it revealed a lot about what major league teams think about his future.With Vitek starting the game on the mound, there were no scouts in attendance for the series finale. For Friday's game, however, almost every MLB team was represented at Ball Diamond. While Sunday's sparse attendance may have had something to do with Easter, it wouldn't have stopped any club that was thinking about Vitek as a pitcher. The pitcher versus hitter discussion from last year seems to be settled.
Confident and comfortably situated in Mid-American Conference play, Ball State University is rolling.Ball State completed a three-game sweep of Miami University on Sunday with a 17-8 victory. The Cardinals (11-15, 5-1) have won both MAC series this year and are on a four-game winning streak.Coach Greg Beals couldn't have asked for a better start to its home schedule."More than anything, we're getting ourselves on a little bit of a winning streak," Beals said. "After our tough [nonconference], it's good to prove to ourselves we're still a good team and we're still capable of having a great season."Ball State might have needed a little reminder after going 6-14 before beginning conference play last weekend at Ohio University. The Cardinals were challenging themselves during the start to their schedule, but playing top-15 teams can have adverse affects on a team's psyche.Now back in the familiar setting of Ball Diamond and playing schools from its own conference, Ball State is appreciating what it went through."We've faced a lot of tough pitchers because we've faced a lot of tough opponents," third baseman Stephen Claypool said. "I think it prepared us pretty well for MAC pitchers."In the sweep of the RedHawks (11-15), the Cardinals scored 34 runs, including a season-high 17 Sunday.In all three games, Ball State used a big inning to take control. Twice the combination of Kolbrin Vitek and Zach Dygert came through with key RBIs in the games' deciding moments.But Sunday, the big inning was less characteristic of the star-studded Cardinals' offense. Ball State put seven runs on the board in the fifth inning using only two hits, though Vitek did have a two-RBI single.Miami used five pitchers in the inning but never found one who could control his pitches. The RedHawks walked six Cardinals and hit two batters in the protracted inning. "Their pitching helped us out quite a bit [Sunday]," Beals said.Though Ball State allowed 18 runs to Miami, it had better pitching than the scores would indicate. In both Saturday and Sunday's game, the RedHawks tacked on runs with the game already well out of hand.Ball State's starters combined to go 2-0 with 17 strikeouts and a 3.57 ERA.Now that the Cardinals have found some success, they are eager to keep it going."The way the year started off, [the sweep] is just a huge confidence booster," pitcher Derek Grabner said. "We can just take this and keep on rolling once we go [further] into the MAC."
Another big inning propelled Ball State University to an 11-7 victory against Miami University and its second consecutive series win.The Cardinals (10-15) scored six in the fourth inning and coasted to their third-straight victory. Starting pitcher Cal Bowling (1-3) took advantage of the big inning for his first win of the season. RedHawks starter Brooks Fiala (2-2) took the loss.Third baseman Stephen Claypool started the fourth with a double. Fiala retired center fielder Cody Elliott, but the next seven Cardinals reached base. Second baseman Kolbrin Vitek and catcher Zach Dygert provided the big blows of the inning. Vitek drove in two runs with a Texas leaguer to right field and Dygert followed with a three-run home run off reliever Matt Rosinski. In all, Miami needed three pitchers to get through the inning. After the teams combined for 11 runs and three home runs in the first four innings, the game calmed down in the middle innings. Bowling shut down the RedHawks, allowing three runs on four hits. The sophomore threw a career-high seven innings, striking out four. With the Cardinals cruising to victory in the eighth, a sudden downpour forced a short rain delay. Ball State tarped the field and the delay lasted only 21 minutes. When the teams came back from the delay, the offense returned as well. Vitek hit a two-run home run immediately after the delay to give Ball State an 11-3 lead. The RedHawks batted around in the ninth against junior Heath Riley, scoring four runs. Designated hitter Jordan Jankowski hit his second two-run home run of the day, and catcher Adam Weisenburger drove in a pair of runs with a single. The game's start was delayed 2 ½ hours because of rain.
Rain has delayed the start to Saturday's game between Ball State University and Miami University.The game was originally scheduled to be played at 1 p.m., but now is slated for 4:30 p.m.Follow The Ball State Daily News sports on Twitter or check back at bsudailynews.com for more updates.
A four-run fifth inning propelled Ball State University to a 6-3 victory in its home opener Friday against Miami University.The Cardinals (9-15) took advantage of an error on shortstop Ryan Kaup in the inning. The error allowed Ball State to bring Kolbrin Vitek and Zach Dygert to the plate. The third and fourth hitters in the Ball State lineup came through with a double and a home run.Starting pitcher Perci Garner (3-0) threw six innings, allowing three runs for the victory. Closer Aaron Hammons pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.The RedHawks (11-13) got a quick start to the game when second baseman Jon Edgington led off the game with a home run. The Cardinals retook the lead in the bottom of the inning with RBIs from first baseman Ian Nielsen and left fielder Kory Benbow.While Miami would tie the game with a solo home run from Ryan Curl, the four-run inning was all the help Garner would need. He struck out six in the longest outing of his career.Relievers Derek Grabner, Seth Hobbs and Hammons each pitched one shutout inning.Vitek was the only Cardinal with multiple hits. The All-American went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. He was also intentionally walked. Ball State has won back-to-back games for the first time this season. It will look to win its second consecutive series today at 1 p.m. with Cal Bowling on the hill.
The road back to Ball Baseball Diamond has been a long one for Ball State University.Since the season began Feb. 19, the Cardinals (8-15) have played all 23 games on the road, visiting teams in seven states. So the team is understandably excited about its home opener Friday at 3 p.m. against Miami University (11-12)."It's going to be fun to get back out here," outfielder Kory Benbow said. "You can tell the excitement level is up a little bit, not having to worry about travelling, packing, getting everything ready."Ball State carries some momentum into this weekend after winning its first series of the year last week at Ohio University. The Cardinals got a big weekend from All-American Kolbrin Vitek, who was named a player of the week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper this week. The junior threw seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits in the rubbermatch with the Bobcats. He also went 6-for-12 at the plate during the series.Overall, Ball State played well in two crucial aspects of the game, which allowed it to be successful."We got good, quality starting pitching, we need to continue to get that," coach Greg Beals said. "We played good defense, and we played good defense this week in practice. That's something we need to maintain."The pitching staff will still be without Friday starter Morgan Coombs, who is out indefinitely with an elbow injury. Last week Perci Garner filled in beautifully, winning his first career start. Taking over Garner's spot as the relief ace has been left-hander Derek Grabner. Grabner transferred to Ball State from Lincoln TrailCollege this year. After a rough start to the season, the junior has allowed just two runs in the last 9 1/3 innings."His last couple outings have been very good," Beals said. "He pitched well at Louisville and he pitched well at Ohio University. He is showing that he is more than capable of handling that role."While the entire team is happy to be home, the hitters are even happier. The wind will likely be blowing out at Ball Diamond this weekend, creating a very hitter-friendly park. Benbow said he enjoys those days, but they can't start swinging for the fences."We're trying to stick to our gameplan," he said. "Not trying to get too big when the wind is blowing out, staying back, hitting with the barrel."
With Ball State University's first Mid-American Conference series on the line Saturday afternoon at Ohio University, Kolbrin Vitek delivered his best pitching performance of the year.The Cardinals' ace shutout the Bobcats for seven innings, allowing just two hits for his first victory of the season. That game, combined with him going 6-for-12 with three runs and two RBIs in the series, netted Vitek national player of the week honors from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.Vitek (1-2) said he knew he needed to step up."After the first game, getting the loss, I needed to step up and just make sure we got the win," Vitek said.After a more pedestrian start to the year on the hill, Vitek has thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings against No. 10 University of Louisville and Ohio. He has struck out nine batters and allowed just five hits during the streak.Vitek said he just needed time to get his arm in shape again."I've been getting the feel back for all of my pitches," Vitek said. "I've been working with a better mix of pitches."A month into the season, Vitek leads the team with a 3.49 ERA and opponents are only hitting .226 off the junior.Catcher Zach Dygert said he hasn't seen any difference in Vitek's pitching since the season started. Dygert said Vitek had better command than normal Saturday."He was able to throw every one of his pitches for strikes when he needed to," the captain said. "He made big pitch after big pitch."Coach Greg Beals said the preseason All-American put all of his pitches to use against the Bobcats. Vitek required only 71 pitches to finish seven innings."He pitched a great game," Beals said. "We need our best players to have great performances when the team needs them, and he came up with one."Vitek's return to dominance as a pitcher is coming at just the right time for Ball State. Brad Piatt has struggled this year and has been dropped from the rotation. Morgan Coombs had been the Cardinals' best pitcher in the first month of the year, but is out indefinitely with an elbow injury.Beals said Vitek needs to keep pitching well, and thinks he will as he gets more used to playing second base and pitching every Sunday."He's getting more and more confident with his role," Beals said. "I think he was still getting settled into that role of Sunday starter and playing second base everyday. I think that's going to get better and better for him and I hope he continues pitching as well as he has been."
The first weekend of Mid-American Conference play went as well as Ball State University could have hoped.
Kolbrin Vitek's phenomenal performance gave Ball State University a 4-0 victory at Ohio University in game two of a doubleheader.
Kolbrin Vitek's phenomenal performance gave Ball State University a 4-0 victory at Ohio University in game two of a doubleheader.
The first Mid-American Conference game of the season brought easier going and a better result for Ball State University.
Gauntlett Eldemire showed Ball State University why he is one of the best players in the Mid-American Conference on Saturday afternoon.The Ohio University center fielder hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the hosts a 4-2 win in Game One against Ball State. Reliever Scott Brothers (1-1) served up the long ball and took the loss. Bryce Butt (1-4) threw the final five innings for the Bobcats, earning his first victory of the year.Ohio (3-16) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Cal Bowling. The first four Bobcats singled off the sophomore before he settled into the game. Second baseman Kolbrin Vitek drew a two-out walk in the third inning and scored Ball State's first run on designated hitter Zach Dygert's double. The Cardinals tied the game in the sixth inning when Dygert led off the inning with a walk. He stole second and advanced to third when catcher Kris McDonough's throw sailed into the outfield. First baseman Ian Nielsen brought him home with a sacrifice fly.But Ball State was unable to get anything else against Butt. They had runners on first and third with one out in the seventh inning, but right fielder Blake Beemer grounded into an inning-ending double play with Vitek on deck. In the ninth, the Cardinals again put runners on the corners with no one out. But Butt struck out the next two hitters and shortstop T.J. Baumet flew out to left to end the game.Dygert and third baseman Stephen Claypool each went 2-for-4 for Ball State.Eldemire led the Bobcats offense, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs.The two teams will complete their three-game series this afternoon. The game was originally scheduled for Sunday, but is being played as a doubleheader due to tomorrow's forecast. Ball State is 1-1 in the second game of doubleheaders this year. Read Sunday's edition of The Ball State Daily News for full coverage of the games.
When Ball State University arrives at Ohio University for its first Mid-American Conference series of the year, the Cardinals will find a team very similar to them.The Bobcats (2-15) have struggled through a difficult nonconference schedule and are dealing with injuries to their pitching staff. Both teams view this weekend as the start to the more important part of the season."It's important to get off on the right foot," Ball State coach Greg Beals said. "It's important for us to just play good baseball."The Bobcats have struggled more than the Cardinals (6-14) this year and are on a seven-game losing streak."We've struggled mightily," Ohio coach Joe Carbone said. "It's a new season basically. It doesn't make any difference what we did before."Ball State had hoped pitcher Morgan Coombs would return from an elbow injury this week to boost it going into conference play, but the senior has been shut down "indefinitely" as the team gets a second opinion.Beals will use Perci Garner in Coombs' spot in the rotation. Garner has not started a game since returning to baseball after spending two seasons as the third-string quarterback at Ball State. He is 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA and 26 strikeouts in six appearances this year."I'm hoping he can give five [innings]," Beals said. "He threw four a couple times. I don't want him to try and do anything more than what he's already done. Hopefully he can get us off to a good start on the weekend."Ohio is also missing their first two starters and will start three freshman this weekend."That's not ideally what we want to do," Carbone said, "but we'll roll the dice with them."Offensively, the Bobcats are led by center fielder Gauntlett Eldemire. The preseason All-American is hitting .433 with 19 RBIs. Beals called Eldemire one of the MAC's best players."We have to make sure he's not the guy that beats us," Beals said. "We need to make sure the Ohio University team beats us and not just Eldemire."Most importantly, however, Beals is hoping his team plays with a better demeanor.He said while it has been a small problem all season, it came to a head after a disappointing 11-5 loss at Tuesday at the University of Notre Dame. In practice this week, Beals has made it a focus."It's not about winning and losing, its about doing the right thing," Beals said. "Playing with the right attitude, playing with the right intensity and making sure we're making all the right plays."Ball State at Ohio at Bob Wren StadiumGame No. 21First pitch: 6 p.m.Pitching matchup: RHP Perci Garner (1-0, 6.00 ERA) vs. RHP Seth Streich (0-1, 9.64)Weather: 45 degrees, sunny, north 9 mphGame No. 22First pitch: 3 p.m.Pitching matchup: RHP Cal Bowling (0-3, 5.85) vs. RHP Ryan Bores (0-4, 7.65)Weather: 59 degrees, partly cloudy, SSE 8 mphGame No. 23First pitch: 1 p.m.Pitching matchup: RHP Kolbrin Vitek (0-2, 4.64) vs. RHP Brock Trimbur (0-1, 1.98)Weather: 58 degrees, thunder showers, south 9 mph
A sloppy start spiraled out of control for Ball State University Tuesday afternoon as it lost 11-5 at the University of Notre Dame.The Cardinals (6-14) couldn't capitalize on a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the top of the first, as Ian Nielsen grounded into an inning-ending double play. Let up off the mat, the Fighting Irish (8-11) scored eight runs in the first two innings and never looked back.Starting pitcher Brad Piatt (0-3) took the loss, but most of the damage was done in the second inning with reliever Michael Sandman on the mound. The freshman allowed six runs on six hits while retiring just one batter. Coach Greg Beals said Sandman left the ball up in the zone and Notre Dame was able to take advantage.With the Mid-American Conference season set to begin Friday, Beals wanted to get work for many members of his pitching staff. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the first four pitchers all allowed at least one run before the game settled down."It was a disappointment," Beals said. "Our pitchers all knew they would only get an inning or two at the most, and the fact they didn't pitch sharp is disappointing."Ball State's defense also faltered early. In the six-run second inning, shortstop T.J. Baumet rushed himself trying to turn a double play and wound up getting no outs. Center fielder Cody Elliott also committed an error in the fourth run, which led to an unearned run.The large deficit was too much for the Cardinals to overcome."Especially being down 8-0 after two innings, it was disheartening," catcher Kevin Franchetti said. Ball State had the bases loaded in both the first and third innings but was only able to score once. The Cardinals stranded at least one runner in each of the first eight innings and 11 overall. In Ball State's upset at No. 10 University of Louisville on Saturday, it was able to get timely hitting. Beals said that was the difference in the two games."I was very disappointed with the offense," he said. "With the pitching we saw today, we should have been more offensive. The bats have to fight our way back into the game."Franchetti led the Cardinals offensively. He went 2-for-4 with his first two career RBI. His first RBI came on a two-out double in the fifth, and he added a two-out triple in the seventh.Franchetti said the RBI felt even better because of the work he has put into his swing."It felt good to come up big," he said. "Especially working with coach the last couple months."For the sixth time this year, the Cardinals failed to win back-to-back games. Ball State has two days to get ready for their conference opener at Ohio University on Friday night.With MAC play starting so soon, Beals isn't taking the loss lightly."It does give you some concern," Beals said. "I said we needed to play good baseball and we didn't. I would have liked to have a good game going into conference play."
Fresh off its victory at No. 10 University of Louisville on Saturday, Ball State University will travel to the University of Notre Dame and take on another Big East opponent Tuesday afternoon.The Cardinals (6-13) are looking for their first win against the Fighting Irish since 2005, when they routed Notre Dame 14-5."It's a big game for us," coach Greg Beals said. "It's like playing any Big Ten school. We're playing against a bigger program and looking forward to it."Shortstop T.J. Baumet said the Cardinals won't be afraid of any teams this year after beating two top-15 teams already."We think we can play with any team," he said. "We just need to start the winning close games."The Cardinals will give the ball to right-hander Brad Piatt (0-2) to start Tuesday. But Piatt won't stay in the game long, as Beals tries to get his pitching staff ready for the start of Mid-American Conference play Friday at Ohio University. One pitcher he really wants to get in the game is closer Aaron Hammons, who didn't pitch at all at Louisville because of the game situations."Aaron's one of our top go-to guys in the bullpen," Beals said. "It's important we get him in on Tuesday."Notre Dame (7-11) has struggled this year. It has lost four in a row and was swept last weekend at home by Michigan State University. The Irish have not found a consistent lineup yet this season, using a different one in each of the first 15 games this year.First baseman Casey Martin leads Notre Dame with a .421 batting average and 16 RBI.Beals said on paper the Irish appear to be in a down year after contending for a spot in the NCAA Tournament for many years."They're struggling on defense more than anything," he said. "They've played a good schedule. I think they're a lot like we are."Notre Dame's schedule hasn't been nearly as arduous as what Ball State has played. The Irish have played one ranked opponent, losing to then-No. 23 Ohio State University in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge on Feb. 27. Notre Dame also played the University of Illinois in the Challenge, losing 11-1. The Cardinals lost to the Illini 10-3 March 14. Beals just wants Ball State to play good baseball, regardless of the competition."It's important that we go up there and play a good game," Beals said. "It's a big game for us no matter where they're at."Ball State at Notre DameGame No. 20First pitch: 5:05Frank Eck StadiumPitching matchup: RHP Brad Piatt (0-2, 7.98 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Sharpley (0-0, 6.75)Weather: 55 degrees, partly cloudy, northwest 9 mph
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the second time this season, Ball State University upset a ranked opponent.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Greg Beals put together a demanding schedule for Ball State University this year, hoping to prepare them for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.But playing top-15 teams can wear on a team's emotions as the losses mount. Beals saw that happen after the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at No. 10 University of Louisville. Ball State had just dropped its third straight game, and needed something to get it back on track before Mid-American Conference play begins this weekend."Some of these games, they've been tough on us," Beals said. "I'm trying to help our guys work their way through that. I just feel like our guys haven't leaned on each other, and what I said is ‘I think we need to start loving each other a little bit better, be behind each other and understand that all 30 of us are in this together.'"Ball State pulled together in the second game Saturday and won 5-1. The victory was Ball State's second on the road against a ranked team this year. Reliever Perci Garner threw four innings for the victory and said the support was much better in the second game."After going 0-2 to start [the series], we were kind of down," the sophomore said. "Coach talked about loving each other. We really did that in the second game and it helped."Ball State (6-13) could use some love after completing their last nonconference series of the year. According to boydsworld.com, the Cardinals have played the 27th hardest schedule in the country. They are 2-6 against the top-15 teams of University of Arkansas, Coastal Carolina University and Louisville.Beals said its part of his job to keep the team together through the tough parts of the season."Sometimes the pressure starts getting to you when you're not winning," he said. "I felt like we needed to get tighter knit as a team and get behind each other."Saturday's victory was a team effort. Starting pitcher Kolbrin Vitek threw four scoreless innings before he was removed. Garner said he wanted to keep going what Vitek started."I just wanted to come out and throw strikes," Garner said. "[Vitek] did a good job of that. Its easy when you've got the lead to come in and just keep it going well."Ball State also got production from all areas of its lineup. With Vitek on the mound and third baseman Stephen Claypool out with an injury, utility infielders Tim Issler and Mitch Widau both started the game and drove in the first two runs of the game."Both of them are playing in roles, they're not everyday roles but they're going to have their opportunities," Beals said. "Both those guys did a great job of taking advantage of that opportunity today."With a complete effort, Ball State became just the second team to defeat Louisville, and the first to do it at Jim Patterson Stadium. No. 22 University of Mississippi also beat Louisville.With only Tuesday's game at the University of Notre Dame between Ball State and the start of the MAC season, Garner said Saturday's victory gives it confidence at an important time."It creates a lot of momentum," he said. "We enjoyed this part of our schedule, but we're ready to play the MAC and get a championship."
An early Ball State University lead on the road at No. 10 University of Louisville evaporated as the hosts scored four times in the fourth and fifth inning.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the second time this season, Ball State University upset a ranked opponent.Ball State defeated No. 10 University of Louisville 5-1 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. Reliever Perci Garner (1-0) threw four innings, allowing one run for the victory. Louisville starter Tony Zych (1-1) took the loss.Ball State (6-13) took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on four two-out singles. Third baseman Tim Issler and second baseman Mitch Widau drove in a run each from the eighth and ninth spot in the lineup.Ball State added a run in the third and fifth inning before Louisville (17-2) got on the scoreboard. Ball State added an insurance run in the seventh, and Garner and Seth Hobbs combined to close out the game.Kolbrin Vitek started the game for Ball State and threw four shutout innings before being removed. He allowed three hits and struck out four. Garner added six strikeouts, but walked four.The loss was just Louisville's second of the year. The University of Mississippi, ranked No. 22, is the only other team to beat Louisville.Ball State is 2-6 against ranked opponents this year. It upset then-No. 15 University of Arkansas on Feb. 20. For more on Saturday's doubleheader read Sunday's edition of The Ball State Daily News.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There would be no messing around from No. 10 University of Louisville in Game One of Saturday afternoon's doubleheader with Ball State University.After a slow start in Friday's series opener, Louisville (17-1) started quickly against starter Cal Bowling (0-3) and defeated Ball State 8-3. The hosts scored five unearned runs in the second inning, and never looked back.Right fielder Stewart Ijames started the second inning with a single, and Ball State (5-13) then committed back-to-back errors. Shortstop T.J. Baumet booted a double-play ball and Bowling couldn't field a sacrifice attempt. Bowling got two outs, but shortstop Adam Duvall hit a two-run double. Second baseman Ryan Wright brought in the final two runs of the inning with a home run.Ball State scored their first run in the fourth inning with a two-out RBI single from designated hitter Nathan Koontz. Louisville starting pitcher Dean Kiekhefer (2-1) didn't run into trouble the rest of the way. The left-hander threw seven innings, allowing one run on six hits. Center fielder Cody Elliott returned from a back injury for Ball State. The sophomore was injured a week ago against the University of Michigan, and returned with a 2-for-4 performance. While Elliott returned to the lineup, third baseman Stephen Claypool did not play. The freshman hurt his ankle rounding second base on Friday.The second game of the doubleheader will begin at 4:15 p.m. Continue to check bsudailynews.com and twitter for updates from the action.