Ball State’s baseball team suffered a 6-5 loss in a midweek non-conference game at Butler Wednesday afternoon to fall to 22-11 on the season.
In a game that the Cardinals had pre-determined they would pitch by committee, Chris Lovejoy started and was the pitcher of record in the loss. Lovejoy pitched 2.1 innings, allowing one earned run and striking out one. He was followed on the mound by five Ball State pitchers, which included four left handed hurlers for the Cardinals.
“Our kids battled back,” head coach Rich Maloney says. “But we did not execute enough in some key situations for us to win the game.”
Ball State fell behind 4-0 through five innings before rallying for two scores in the seventh and two in the eighth, but the Bulldogs added two more in the seventh to make it a 6-4 game going into the ninth. The Cardinals managed one score in the ninth, but fell by the eventual 6-5 margin and Butler improved to 14-17 on the year.
In the seventh, Sean Godfrey started the inning with a single and was followed by a Sean Kennedy base hit. T.J. Weir walked to load the bases and a Caleb Stayton ground out to the pitcher scored Godfrey to give the Cardinals their first run of the game. Brandon Estep hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Kennedy and Ball State was on the board but down 4-2.
Ball State gave up two more in the bottom of the seventh, and facing a 6-2 deficit, managed two more in the eighth to pull within two runs.
Alex Call came in as a pinch hitter and singled to start the inning. Alex Maloney doubled to put runners on second and third. Ryan Spaulding’s single up the middle scored two and the Cardinals trailed 6-4.
But the Cardinals left one runner stranded in the seventh, two in the eighth and one in the ninth in their attempt to get back in the game.
Alex Maloney’s fifth double of the season was the only extra base hit of the game for Ball State and he managed a 1-for-4 performance with one run-batted-in and one run scored. Spaulding was 1-for-5 with two RBI, while Kennedy was 2-for-4 with one run scored.
Ball State will return to Mid-American Conference action Friday through Sunday with a three-game series at Toledo. The Cardinals are 7-1 in MAC action and a half game behind MAC West Division leader Central Michigan’s 8-1 mark. Friday’s game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. first pitch.