MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State baseball team notched a split of a Mid-American Conference doubleheader Friday against Toledo as the Cardinals won game one 8-3 before falling in game two 2-1 at Ball Diamond. The Cardinals end the afternoon 14-35 overall and 10-15 in MAC play while Toledo improves to 26-26 on the year and 15-11 in league action.
Game One - Ball State 8, Toledo 3
Ball State junior right-hander Cal Bowling (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) tossed his fourth complete game of the season to guide the Cardinals to an 8-3 victory over visiting Toledo in game one of a Mid-American Conference doubleheader at Ball Diamond Friday.
Bowling improves to 5-5 on the season as he limited the Rockets to just three runs on five hits. He struck out two batters and only needed 101 pitches to post his league-leading fourth complete game in MAC play. Sophomore Blake Beemer (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) led the Cardinals' 12-hit attack as he posted three hits and drove in three runs in the victory.
Ball State opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning against Toledo right-hander Lincoln Rassi. Junior Cody Elliott (Florence, Ky./Beechwood) drew a leadoff walk before moving into scoring position as Tim Issler (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) poked an opposite field double down the right field line.
Beemer put the Cardinals in front 2-0 as he doubled down the left field line. After a walk to freshman Kenny Mahala (Highland, Ind./Andrean), left fielder Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) ran the Cardinals' lead to 4-0 as he tripled over the center fielder's head for his first career three-bagger.
Ball State extended its lead to 5-0 with another run in the second inning. Junior Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) started things off with a two out single up the middle and moved to second as Issler singled into left field. Beemer beat out an infield single in the ensuing at-bat as Widau hustled home all the way from second base on the infield hit.
Toledo broke through in the top of the third inning against Bowling. The Rockets quickly loaded the bases with nobody out before Bowling settled down to induce a sacrifice fly and a fielder's choice limiting the damage to just two runs.
The Cardinals got the two runs back in the bottom of the third inning as Godfrey was hit by a pitch and freshman T.J. Weir (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo) dropped a single into center field. Elliott battled Rassi with two outs before slicing a two-run double down the right-field line on a 1-2 pitch to put the Cardinals in front 7-2.
Rassi (3-6) picked up the loss for the Rockets as he allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 5.0 innings of work despite striking out eight batters.
Game Two - Toledo 2, Ball State 1
Ball State senior left-hander Derek Grabner (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lincoln Trail) pitched a career-high 8.1 innings in his final collegiate start but the Cardinals dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to MAC foe Toledo in game two of the Friday doubleheader.
Grabner falls to 1-6 on the season despite working into the ninth inning for the first time in his career. He allowed just two runs on 11 hits while striking out five batters in the loss.
Toledo opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Jim Vahalik led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position after a hit by pitch. Wes White put Toledo in front 1-0 as he poked a single through the left side to plate Vahalik with the game's first run.
Toledo extended its lead to 2-0 with another run in the top of the fifth inning. Chris Dudics and Tyler Grogg posted back-to-back singles putting runners on the corners with two outs. Ben Hammer came through with a run-scoring double to plate Dudics with the game's second run.
Ball State cut the Rockets' lead in half in the bottom of the fifth inning against UT right-hander Jared Locke. Weir ignited the rally as he sprayed a single through the left side with two outs. Freshman first baseman Cody Campbell (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) made it a 2-1 contest as he ripped a run-scoring triple over the center fielder's head to plate Weir. The triple was the second of Campbell's career and the Cardinals second of the doubleheader.
Toledo threatened in the top of the ninth inning to add an insurance run as Chris Dudics reached on a single up the middle to end Grabner's afternoon. Sophomore Michael Sandman (Newark, Ohio/Utica) came on in relief and allowed an infield single to Tyler Grogg. The Cardinals' defense stepped up and catcher Kevin Franchetti (Highland, Ind./Andrean) threw out Dudics on the front end of a double steal attempt for the second out of the inning. Sandman ended the threat as he struck out Hammer to keep it a one run contest.
The Cardinals were held in check in their final at-bat as Toledo closer Matt Zahel came on and retired three straight to end the contest. Zahel notches his 11th save of the season while Locke improves to 3-2 on the year after working 6.0 innings of six-hit baseball.
The Cardinals and Rockets will close out the 2011 regular season Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Ball Diamond. The Cardinals will recognize seniors T.J. Baumet (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg), Scott Brothers Jr. (Monticello, Ind./Gulf Coast CC) and Derek Grabner (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lincoln Trail) prior to the game.