Baseball Wins Wild Affair At NIU In 10 Innings
DEKALB, Ill. - Ball State sophomore right fielder Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 10th inning to lead the Cardinals to an 11-10 extra inning victory over Mid-American Conference foe Northern Illinois Thursday afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field. The 11 runs scored are a season-high for the Cardinals and the most since scoring 11 runs last season against Toledo (May 21, 2011).
Godfrey led the Cardinals' 16-hit attack as he tallied a career-high five hits, while tying his career best with four RBI. His five hits are the most for a Cardinal this season as he posted singles in the first, second, fourth, ninth and 10th innings. Sophomore right-hander T.J. Weir (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) drove in a career-high five runs in the victory, including hitting the Cardinals' first grand slam of the season. Weir also worked 5.0 innings on the mound and allowed three runs on nine hits in the no decision.
Ball State (12-36, 7-18 MAC) jumped all over Northern Illinois starter Taylor Nawrocki in the top of the first inning. Senior Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) and Godfrey posted back-to-back one-out singles before Blake Beemer (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) drew a walk to load the bases. Weir helped his own cause out as he drilled a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall for his fourth home run of the season and an early 4-0 lead.
The Cardinals kept the pressure on in the top of the second inning, chasing Nawrocki from the game after just 1.2 innings of work. Senior Tim Issler (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) led off with a walk and moved to third as Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) singled. Widau put the Cardinals in front 5-0 as he doubled into right field before Godfrey gave the Cardinals a seven-run lead with a two-run single up the middle to end the day for Nawrocki.
Northern Illinois (15-38, 7-18 MAC) began its rally against Weir in the bottom of the second inning as it loaded the bases with one out after three walks. Alex Beckmann made it a 7-1 game with a single right field before Weir struck out Alex Jones to leave the bases loaded.
The Huskies narrowed the gap to 7-3 with a pair of runs in the third inning as they posted four hits in the frame. Northern Illinois rallied all the way back and tied the game at 7-7 with four runs in the sixth inning against left-hander Jon Cisna (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township).
Jones started the scoring with a RBI single before Troy White posted a two-run triple to pull the Huskies within one run. Alex Klownowski tied the game as he lifted a sacrifice fly into left field, plating White with the tying run.
Northern Illinois took its first lead of the afternoon in the bottom of the seventh inning against left-hander Matt Johnsen (Barrington, Ill./Fremd). Chris Divarco led off the inning with a solo home run over the left center field wall for the 8-7 lead.
Ball State was down two its final three outs in the top of the ninth inning against NIU closer Kyle Glancy, who leads the MAC with 11 saves. Winkle led off the inning with a single and quickly stole second base to move into scoring position. Godfrey came through tying the game with a run-scoring single plating Winkle to make it an 8-8 contest.
Godfrey used his speed to give the Cardinals the lead as he stole third base and scored as the NIU catcher overthrew the bag. The Cardinals continued to hit against Glancy as Billy Wellman (Portland, Ind./Jay County) and Beemer hit consecutive singles. Weir drove in his fifth run of the game with a single into right center field to give the Cardinals a 10-8 lead.
Northern Illinois kept the see-saw affair going in the bottom of the ninth inning as it scored two runs against Cal Bowling (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown). The Huskies posted back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before making it a one-run contest with two straight passed balls.
Right-hander Chris Marangon (Maple Valley, Wash./Edmunds CC) came on in relief and induced a ground ball the Cardinals tried to turn a game-ending double play on, but BSU only got one out as Jamison Wells crossed the plate to tie the game at 10-10. Marangon struck out Beckmann with a runner in scoring position to send the game into extra innings.
Ball State answered right back in the top of the 10th inning as Klownowski came on in relief from second base. Kevin Franchetti (Highland, Ind./Andrean) led off the inning with an infield single and was moved into scoring position as Winkle dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Godfrey gave the Cardinals their final lead of the afternoon as he lined a 1-1 pitch into left field scoring Franchetti in front of the NIU throw for the 11-10 lead.
Marangon closed out the victory with a 1-2-3 10th inning as he struck out two batters to seal the victory. He picked up the victory to improve to 2-7 on the year as he fifth Cardinals' pitcher, working 2.0 innings of shutout baseball and striking out four batters.
Klownowski (3-1) was charged with the loss as the fifth NIU pitcher on the afternoon as he allowed one run on two hits in one inning of work.
Ball State and Northern Illinois will continue its season-ending three-game series Friday afternoon. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. (CT).