With a 10-2 win at Northern Illinois Saturday, the Ball State baseball team swept the three-game series from the Huskies to end the regular season at 38-16 overall and 22-4 in the Mid-American Conference.
The sweep of NIU marked the fifth series sweep over MAC opponents this season for Ball State, while the Cardinals won the regular-season series over league opponents for a seventh straight time in 2013.
The Cardinals head into next week’s MAC Tournament as the overall champions, MAC West Division Champions and the No. 1 seed in the league tourney.
The Cardinals led the whole game after a Jarett Rindfleisch single to left field knocked in the first run of the game when Alex Call scored from second after doubling to lead off the top half of the first.
In the third inning and with the help of a double error by the Huskies, Ball State’s Sean Godfrey stepped to the plate with one out and runners on second and third and grounded out to shortstop, but scored Call and gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, Alex Maloney singled to left field to score two Ball State runs and the Cardinals extended their lead to 4-0.
After allowing one NIU run in the bottom of the fourth, the Cardinals responded with a rally in the fifth. Rindfleisch was hit by pitch to lead the inning, which was followed by a double to center field by Sean Kennedy to put runners on second and third. With one out, Maloney tripled for the first time this season to score two runs and increase the Cardinals lead to 6-1.
With runners on first and third in the sixth and two outs, Nick Hollowell laced a single up the middle to score Cole Griesinger and put the Cardinals ahead 7-1. Call stepped to the plate and singled to right centerfield to score Caleb Stayton and Ball State led 8-1.
Clay Manering started the game and pitched five innings, allowing only one run while striking out seven of the 20 batters he faced to earn the win and improve to 2-3 on the year. Chris Lovejoy, Jacob Brewer, Matt Johnsen and Tyler Jordan came on in relief to finish the game out for the Cardinals.
Kennedy finished the day with a 2-for-4 performance from the plate and two runs scored. Devarie was 2-for-2 on the afternoon, while Stayton, Call and Ryan Spaulding added two hits apiece for the Cardinals.
Ball State will open the MAC Tournament in Avon, Ohio, Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. against the league’s No. 8 seed. The entire tourney will be played at All-Pro Freight Stadium from Wednesday through Sunday.