BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Ball State baseball team picked up its third Mid-American Conference series victory of the year Friday afternoon sweeping a doubleheader against Buffalo at Amherst Audubon Field. The Cardinals won game one by a 7-4 margin and complete the twin bill sweep with an 8-3 victory. The victories improve the Cardinals to 7-4 in MAC play while the Bulls fall to 0-11 in league action.
Ball State got strong starting pitching to sweep the doubleheader as junior right-hander Cal Bowling (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) and senior left-hander Derek Grabner (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lincoln Trail) tallied victories Friday. Bowling worked 8.0 innings and allowed two unearned runs while Grabner went 6.1 strong innings and allowed three runs.
Game One - Ball State 7, Buffalo 4
Ball State junior right-hander Cal Bowling (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) improved to 3-1 in Mid-American Conference play as he tossed 8.0 strong innings to lead the Cardinals to a 7-4 victory over hosting Buffalo in game one of Friday's doubleheader.
Bowling (4-2) fell one inning shy of posting his fourth straight complete game as he worked 8.0 innings and limited the Bulls to just two unearned runs on six hits as he struck out five batters. He is now 9-1 in his career against MAC opponents and has pitched 35 of a possible 36 innings in league play this season.
Junior center fielder Cody Elliott (Florence, Ky./Beechwood) and senior shortstop T.J. Baumet (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) ignited the Cardinals' attack from the top of the order as they combined for four hits and five RBI in the victory. Elliott drove in three runs, including a two-run double, while Baumet added a pair of RBI as he reached base four times in the victory.
Ball State opened the scoring in the top of the second inning against Buffalo right-hander Kevin Crumb. The Cardinals quickly loaded the bases as they took advantage of a UB error, a hit by pitch and a fielder's choice. Elliott put the Cardinals in the lead as he singled through the left side with the bases loaded and Baumet extended the advantage to 3-0 with a two-run single.
The Cardinals added to their lead in the top of the third inning as freshman first baseman Kenny Mahala (Highland, Ind./Andrean) led off with an infield single. After a ground out advanced Mahala to second, freshman Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) gave the Cardinals a 4-0 edge as he single to center field to score Mahala.
Buffalo answered back in the bottom of the third inning as it took advantage of a Ball State fielding error to score two unearned runs. The Cardinals maintained the 4-2 lead until the eighth inning as Baumet was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a ground ball. Mahala picked up another RBI as he single up the middle to make it a 5-2 game.
Ball State tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Junior Tim Issler (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) reached on a Buffalo error and moved into scoring position as sophomore Kirby Campbell (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) doubled down the left field line. Elliott gave the Cardinals a 7-2 cushion heading into the bottom of the ninth as he doubled into the left center field gap, scoring both runners.
Buffalo was able to bring home two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning as Matt Pollock posted a two-run single against freshman Devin Wilburn (Selma, Ind./Wapahani). Right-hander Seth Hobbs (Marseilles, Ill./Seneca) came on in relief and after a walk got a line drive to the shortstop to end the game and strand the bases loaded for his first save of the season.
Crumb (2-6) was charged with the loss as he worked 6.0 innings and allowed four runs on hit hits. He struck out six batters but walked five in the loss. Left-hander Cory Folk worked the final 3.0 innings and was charged with three runs on three hits.
Game Two - Ball State 8, Buffalo 3
Ball State jumped out to an 8-0 lead after four innings and cruised to an 8-3 victory over Buffalo to sweep a Friday doubleheader. Freshman Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) led the Cardinals' 14-hit attack as he notched a career-high three hits in the victory.
Senior left-hander Derek Grabner (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lincoln Trail) picked up his first win of the season as he worked 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Grabner (1-3) struck out seven batters in the victory while walking a season-high five. Sophomore right-hander Michael Sandman (Newark, Ohio/Utica) notched his first career save as he worked the final 2.1 innings of shutout baseball after entering the game with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.
Ball State jumped out to the lead for the second straight game as it plated two runs in the top of the first inning against Buffalo left-hander Josh Edwards. Elliott led off the game with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Junior Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) reached on a Buffalo error before Godfrey gave the Cardinals the lead with an RBI single plating Elliott. Freshman Cody Campbell (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) put the Cardinals in front 2-0 as he followed with a run-scoring single through the left side.
The Cardinals stretched the lead to 5-0 with three runs after two outs in the top of the third inning. Godfrey got things going with a single and advanced all the way to third on back-to-back wild pitches. Campbell drove in his second run of the game as he singled through the left side and came home to score as freshman T.J. Weir (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) doubled into the gap for the five-run lead.
Ball State ran its lead to 8-0 with three more in the top of the fourth inning. Elliott walked and stole second before Baumet singled to put two aboard. After a stolen base by Baumet, Widau single through the right side to plate two runs. Sophomore Blake Beemer (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) gave the Cardinals an eight-run lead as he singled through the left side.
Buffalo scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning against Grabner. Alex Baldock was hit by a pitch and into scoring position as Eric Bryce poked a single into the outfield. Michael Burke made it an 8-1 contest with an RBI single to plate Baldock.
The Bulls chased Grabner from the game in the bottom of the seventh inning as he issued two walks to lead off the inning. Andrew Smietana made it an 8-3 contest as he doubled down the left field line to score two runs to chase Grabner from the game. After a hit by pitch and a walk loaded the bases, Sandman came on and got Tom Murphy to ground out to short to end the inning, stranding all three runners.
Edwards (1-6) was charged with the loss as he allowed eight runs on 13 hits in just 3.1 innings of work. The Buffalo bullpen held the Cardinals in check over four innings as it held Ball State to just a single hit in relief work.
Ball State and Buffalo will wrap up the three-game series Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. with senior right-hander Morgan Coombs (West Terre Haute, Ind./Lincoln Trail) set to take the hill for the Cardinals.