Good pitching and timely home runs proved to be the formula for the Ball State baseball team to defeat the Kent State Golden Flashes 16-5 at Ball Diamond Friday afternoon.
With the victory, the Cardinals improved to 33-16 overall and 17-4 in the Mid-American Conference, while Kent State falls to 30-18 overall and 14-8 in league play. The two teams will return to action Saturday in a 1 p.m. game in Muncie, Ind., and complete the series with a Sunday 1 p.m. contest on Senior Day at Ball Diamond.
"We had several guys contribute to an outstanding win against rival Kent State," Ball State head coach Rich Maloney said. "We hit five home runs against several outstanding Kent State pitchers. Today was our day. We have two big games left agains an outstanding opponent. Tomorrow will be a new challenge."
Ball State scored 16 runs on five home runs in the contest, including an eighth-inning grand slam by Ryan Spaulding that gave the Cardinals a 16-5 lead and enough scoring to post the Friday win.
T.J. Weir pitched 6.2 innings and struck out nine Kent State hitters to earn the win and improve his pitching record to 7-2 on the season. Zach Plesac came on in the seventh frame in relief and Matt Johnsen finished out the contest for the Cardinals.
The bottom of the fifth saw the Cardinals extend their 3-2 lead to 6-2 on a three-run HR by Alex Maloney, his fourth of the season.
The fireworks continued in the sixth with a four-run inning with the help of a Kyle Raleigh three-run homer to extend Ball State’s lead to 10-3.
The final blow was distributed in the eighth inning when Spaulding’s grand slam extended the Cardinals’ lead to 16-5.
Ball State tallied 14 hits and committed zero errors in the victory, while Kent State scored its five runs on eight hits.
Spaulding ended his day with a 2-for-4 performance from the plate with five runs-batted-in and two runs scored. Call was 3-for-5 in the game with one RBI and two runs scored. Godfrey was 2-for-6 in the game with two RBI and two runs scored.
The Cardinals entered the game with a 2.5 game lead in the MAC West Division and a 3.5 game lead over East Division leader Kent State for the overall No. 1 seed at the MAC Tournament.
With five games remaining in the season, Ball State will host the Flashes in pivotal games Saturday and Sunday.