ATHENS, Ohio - The Ball State baseball team split a Mid-American Conference doubleheader at Ohio Sunday afternoon as the Cardinals dropped game one 11-9 before coming back and posting a 4-3 victory in the series finale.
Sophomore shortstop T.J. Weir (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) drove in five runs in the two games while recording three hits, two doubles and a home run. Sophomore right fielder Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) added five hits in the twin bill while driving in two runs, including the game-winning run in game two.
Game One - Ohio 11, Ball State 9
The Ball State baseball team scored seven unanswered runs late in the game to pull within one before dropping an 11-9 contest to Ohio in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader. The Cardinals trailed 10-2 after five innings before pulling within one at 10-9 in the eighth inning.
Weir drove in a career-high four runs in the loss as he posted back-to-back two-run doubles in the comeback attempt. Godfrey posted a career-high four hits in the loss while scoring three runs.
Ohio struck first in the bottom of the first inning against sophomore left-hander Nestor Bautista (New York, N.Y./George Washington) as it took advantage of a fielding error to take a 1-0 lead. Ethan Newton led off the inning with a single and moved to third as Bautista overthrew first base on a pickoff attempt. Jensen Painter drove in the game's first run as he grounded out to shortstop, plating Newton.
Ohio extended its lead in the second inning to 3-0 as Kyle Dean led off the inning with a solo home run to center field. The Bobcats strung together three singles to score their third run of the afternoon as Newtown tallied an RBI single.
Ball State struck back in the top of the third inning against Ohio starter Jason Moulton. Senior Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) started things off with a two-out, two-strike single into center field and moved to third as Godfrey smashed a single down the third base line. The Cardinals got some assistance from the Ohio defense as Weir grounded out, but the Ohio third baseman overthrew first base allowing both Widau and Godfrey to score making it a 3-2 contest.
Ohio added three runs in the third and three in the fourth to take a 9-2 lead, chasing Bautista from the game.
Ball State got a pair of runs back in the top of the seventh inning as junior Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) lined a one-out single into right field. Godfrey followed with a perfect bunt single for his third hit of the afternoon. Weir made it a 10-4 contest as he doubled off the left field wall scoring both Winkle and Godfrey.
The Cardinals kept battling and sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the eighth inning, scoring five runs to make it a 10-9 deficit. Junior Blake Beemer (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) reached on a hit by pitch and moved to second on a single by Elbert Devarie (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway). After a walk to Kevin Schlotter (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) loaded the bases, Winkle reached on a fielder's choice but Ohio threw the ball out of play allowing two runs to score.
Widau drew a walk to put two aboard before Godfrey lined a single on the first pitch he saw for his fourth hit of the game scoring Winkle. Weir continued his strong afternoon as he lined a two-run double over the left fielder's head to make it a 10-9 contest.
Ohio got a much needed run in the bottom of the eighth inning against junior left-hander Miles Moeller (Phoenix, Ariz./Glendale CC). Mark Madsen led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Ian Mezlak gave the Bobcats an 11-9 lead with a run-scoring single into right field. Scott White followed with a double down the left field line but the Cardinals threw Mezlak out at home plate to end the inning and keep it a two-run contest.
The Cardinals threatened in the top of the ninth inning as Brandon Estep (Selma, Ind./Wapahani) posted his third hit of the afternoon with a single. Devarie reached base on an infield single with one out to put the tying run on base. The Cardinals lifted two fly balls to end the game as the rally fell just short.
Bautista (0-5) picked up the loss for the Cardinals as he allowed nine runs, seven earned, on 12 hits in 3.1 innings of work. Moeller turned in his best outing of the season working 4.2 innings and holding the Bobcats to two runs on six hits allowing the Cardinals' chance for a comeback attempt.
Moulton (3-2) picked up the win as he allowed four runs on 10 hits in 7.0 innings of work. The Ohio bullpen combined for 2.0 innings and allowed five runs on five hits before Sean Kennedy posted his first save working the ninth inning.
Game Two - Ball State 4, Ohio 3
Ball State picked up a much deserved 4-3 victory over Ohio in the second game of the Sunday doubleheader at Wren Stadium. The Cardinals scored the game-winning run in the seventh inning as Godfrey lined a run-scoring single up the middle.
Ball State struck first in the top of the third inning against Ohio right-hander Seth Streich. Devarie continued his strong afternoon with a single up the middle and moved into scoring position as Winkle reached on an infield single. After Winkle stole second to move into scoring position, Widau lined a two-out two-run single into right center field to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Ohio finally broke through against junior right-hander Chris Marangon (Maple Valley, Wash./Edmunds CC)in the bottom of the fifth. Cody Gaertner reached base as he singled off Marangon's glove and quickly stole second base. Mezlak drove in the Bobcats first run as he lined a single into left field plating Gaertner to make it a 2-1 BSU lead.
The Cardinals answered right back in the top of the sixth inning. Weir continued his stellar afternoon crushing a 1-2 pitch high over the left field wall for his first home run of the season giving the Cardinals a 3-1 lead.
Ohio tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning while chasing Marangon from the game. Newton and Painter got the inning going with singles before left-hander Devin Wilburn (Selma, Ind./Wapahani) came on in relief. Wilburn got the second out of the inning before issuing a walk to load the bases. Gartner came through once again as he lined a two-run single into right field to tie the game at 3-3.
Ball State retook the lead in the top of the seventh inning chasing Streich from the game. Devarie drew a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position as Widau also walked. Godfrey gave the Cardinals a 4-3 lead as he ripped a two-strike pitch up the middle and Devarie scored on the close play as the Ohio catcher wasn't able to handle the throw giving the Cardinals the lead.
Ohio threatened in the bottom of the seventh as Newtown singled and Tyler Wells drew a walk to put two aboard with two outs. Sophomore right-hander Jacob Brewer (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph's) came on and got the MAC's home run leader Painter (11 home runs) to fly out to the warning track ending the threat.
The Cardinals closed out the victory in the ninth inning as Brewer walked the leadoff batter. Ball State got the lead runner on a potential sacrifice bunt and then ended the game with a groundball double play to seal the win.
Wilburn (2-2) picked up the victory in relief as he worked 1.1 shutout innings and allowed two hits. Brewer notched his first career save working the final 2.1 innings of shutout baseball while not allowing a hit.
Marangon was solid once again as he worked 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on six hits while striking out four. Streich (2-4) picked up the loss for the Bobcats allowing four runs on six hits in 6.2 innings of work.
Ball State returns to action Tuesday afternoon as it hosts Northwestern Ohio in a non-conference affair. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Ball Diamond in the first of four straight home games.