Baseball Posts 11-2 Victory Over NIU To Claim Series
DEKALB, Ill. - The Ball State baseball team clinched its third Mid-American Conference series victory of the season Friday afternoon as the Cardinals scored 11 runs for the second straight game, taking home an 11-2 victory over hosting Northern Illinois at Ralph McKinzie Field.
The Cardinals (13-36, 8-18 MAC) matched their season-high with 11 runs for the second straight game after posting an 11-10 extra inning victory yesterday afternoon. The back-to-back double-figure scoring outputs for Ball State marks the first time BSU has at least 10 runs in consecutive games since scoring 31 runs in the first two games of a series against Eastern Michigan during the 2010 season.
Junior right-hander Chris Marangon (Maple Valley, Wash./Edmunds CC) posted his second victory in as many days as he worked 5.0 innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out three batters. Marangon notched the victory yesterday afternoon in relief as he tossed 2.0 shutout innings in the 10-inning victory with four strikeouts. He becomes the first Cardinal to win two games in a weekend series since Jeff Michael posted a pair of relief wins against NIU April 2-4, 2004.
Ball State jumped out of the gate quickly for the second straight game as it plated three runs in the first inning against NIU starter Jake Hermsen. After two quick outs, sophomore Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) and redshirt sophomore Billy Wellman (Portland, Ind./Jay County) posted back-to-back singles.
After a walk to Brandon Estep (Selma, Ind./Wapahani) loaded the bases, sophomore T.J. Weir (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) lined a two-run single up the middle. Hermsen issued another walk before Elbert Devarie (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway) reached on a fielding error allowing Estep to score for the 3-0 BSU lead.
The Cardinals added to their lead in the second inning as junior Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) led off the inning with a single. After a bunt attempt, Winkle was able to advance all the way to third base on another NIU error. Godfrey continued his torrid weekend as he lined a single into right center field for a 4-0 lead.
Northern Illinois (15-39, 7-19 MAC) struck back in the bottom of the second against Marangon. Jordan Huffman singled and Chris Divarco doubled down the left field line to put two in scoring position with one out. Joe Battaglia lifted a sacrifice fly into right field to plate Huffman to make it a 4-1 contest.
The Cardinals got that run back in the top of the fourth inning on a Winkle run-scoring single for a 5-1 lead. Ball State broke the game open with three more runs in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 8-1. Weir led off the inning with a walk and junior Blake Beemer (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) singled to end Hermsen's afternoon.
Devarie drove in a run with a ground ball before Winkle posted his second straight RBI single plating Beemer while Winkle advanced all the way to third base on another NIU error. Senior Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) drove in the Cardinals' eighth run as he singled into left center field.
The Cardinals added to their lead with three more runs in the seventh inning to extend it to 11-1. Beemer and Devarie posted run-scoring singles, while Ball State capped its scoring on the Huskies' sixth error of the afternoon.
Ball State finished the game with 13 hits in the victory while taking advantage of six Northern Illinois fielding errors. Four different Cardinals posted multiple-hit games with Winkle and Weir leading the way with three hits apiece.
Hermsen (3-8) picked up the loss for the Huskies as he allowed seven runs, three earned, on eight hits in 5.0 innings of work.
The Cardinals will go for their first series sweep of the season Saturday afternoon as they face the Huskies at 2 p.m. (CT).