Big Inning Lifts Baseball Over Eastern Michigan, 8-4
MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State baseball team posted its largest single-inning scoring output of the season scoring seven runs in the fourth inning as the Cardinals opened a three-game Mid-American Conference series against MAC West Division leading Eastern Michigan with an 8-4 victory Friday afternoon at Ball Diamond. The victory improves the Cardinals to 5-8 in MAC play while the Eagles fall to 8-5 in league action.
Sophomore right-hander/designated hitter T.J. Weir (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) continued his strong play of late as he picked up his second victory of the season while also hitting his second home run of the year. Weir worked 6.0 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out three. He drove in a pair of runs at the plate as well connecting on a fourth inning home run and posting an RBI groundout in the same frame.
Eastern Michigan (17-20, 8-5 MAC) opened the scoring in the top of the third inning against Weir. John Rubino started things with a one out single and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Brent Ohrman lined the first pitch he saw into left field scoring Rubino for the 1-0 lead.
Ball State (10-25, 5-8 MAC) answered right back against EMU right-hander Neil Butara in the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore Mitch Overley (Zionsville, Ind./Brebeuf) drew a one-out single and moved to third as junior Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) doubled over the right fielder's head. Widau tied the game as he lifted the first pitch he saw into deep center field driving in Overley to tie the game at 1-1.
The Cardinals broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning as they sent 11 batters to the plate scoring seven runs on five hits to take an 8-1 lead. Weir helped his own cause out to lead off the inning as he crushed the first pitch he saw high over the right center field wall for his second home run in as many league games to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
Ball State continued the inning as it loaded the bases without a hit as Butara walked a batter and hit one to go along with a fielder's choice. Overley came through with a two-run bases loaded single through the right side for the 4-1 lead. After a walk loaded the bases, Widau poked a two-run single into right field to keep the inning alive.
Sophomore Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) drove in the Cardinals' sixth run of the inning as he doubled off the right field wall. Weir capped the scoring as he grounded out to notch his second RBI of the inning giving the Cardinals an 8-1 lead.
Eastern Michigan came back in the top of the fifth and scored two runs to narrow the BSU lead to 8-3. The Eagles took advantage of two Weir walks to lead off the inning before getting a sacrifice fly from Ohrman and a RBI single from Sam Ott. The Cardinals' defense came through to limit the damage as Weir got Tucker Rubino to line into an inning-ending double play to Widau with the bases loaded to thwart the threat.
Eastern Michigan battled to the last out as the Eagles loaded the bases in the top of the ninth inning with two singles and a BSU fielding error. Moeller buckled down striking out Matt Hitt for the second out of the inning before getting Daniel Russell to fly out ending the game.
Moeller picked up his first career save as he worked the final 3.0 innings and allowed just one run on four hits while posting a pair of strikeouts. Butara (3-3) picked up the loss for the Eagles in his shortest start of the year. He lasted just 4.0 innings and allowed eight runs on seven hits while walking three batters.
Ball State and Eastern Michigan will continue its three-game series Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Ball Diamond with right-hander Chris Marangon (Maple Valley, Wash./Edmunds CC) on the hill for the Cardinals.