Baseball Takes Series Finale At Akron In 12 Innings
AKRON, Ohio - Four Ball State baseball pitchers combined to limit Akron to just one run in 12 innings as the Cardinals posted a 2-1 extra-inning victory over the Zips in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Canal Park, the home of the Cleveland Indians' Double-A affiliate Akron Aeros. All three runs on the afternoon were scored on squeeze plays as the two teams combined for just three runs on 13 hits.
Junior right-hander Chris Marangon (Maple Valley, Wash./Edmunds CC) worked 4.2 innings of shutout baseball in his third start of the year allowing just one hit. Junior left-hander Jon Cisna (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township) gave the Cardinals 1.1 innings of shutout baseball as he limited the Zips to one hit as well.
Sophomore left-hander Devin Wilburn (Selma, Ind./Wapahani) was pivotal in relief as he worked 3.0 innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out five batters. Junior Miles Moeller (Phoenix, Ariz./Glendale CC) picked up his first victory as a Cardinal to improve to 1-1, working the final 3.0 innings of shutout baseball allowing just two hits.
Ball State (4-14, 1-2 MAC) took its first lead of the series in the top of the third inning against Akron starter Alex Loftin. Sophomore Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a sacrifice bunt moved hit to third base, Blake Beemer (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt to plate Godfrey for the 1-0 BSU lead.
Akron (8-14, 2-1 MAC) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning as Brady Stewart led off the inning with a double before Wilburn struck out the next batter for the first out of the inning. Darius Washington reached base as the Cardinals tried to get the lead runner at third base on a ground ball allowing the game-tying run 90 feet away.
Matt Rembielak dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt on the first base line allowing the game-tying run to reach base while Washington advanced all the way to third. Wilburn buckled down with the potential game-winning run 90 feet away and struck out Devan Ahart and Tyler Begun to end the threat and send the game into extra innings.
Akron threatened in the bottom of the 11th inning against Moeller as Brandon Winter led off with a single into right field before Washington was hit by a pitch to put the game-winning run in scoring position. Moeller got a big lift from his defense as Rembielak lined a ball into center field but junior Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) made a running catch on the sinking line drive and doubled off Winter at second base to end the threat.
Ball State took the lead back in the top of the 12th inning against Akron left-hander Scott Foster, who was in his fifth inning of work. Sophomore shortstop T.J. Weir (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) lined a one-out triple down the right field line to set the stage for the game's third squeeze play. Sophomore Cody Campbell (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) came through this time as he dropped down a perfect bunt and Weir beat the throw home to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
Akron brought the game-tying run 90 feet away in the bottom of the 12th inning as Sam Trecaso singled and moved all the way to third on a fielding error by Winkle. Moeller stranded the Zips' second run at third base as he induced a lazy fly ball to center field to end the game.
Foster (1-3) picked up the loss despite working 5.0 solid innings of relief for the Zips. He allowed one run on just one hit, Weir's triple, while striking out four. Loftin allowed one run in 7.0 innings for Akron in the no decision as he allowed five hits.
Ball State returns to action this week with a pair of non-conference midweek games beginning Tuesday at regional foe Dayton. The Cardinals will open the home portion of the 2012 schedule after 19 straight road games Wednesday afternoon as they host Indiana State. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Ball Diamond.