FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Ball State baseball team opened the 2010 season Friday afternoon with a 10-2 loss at 15th ranked Arkansas in front of a crowd of 7,539 at Baum Stadium. The Cardinals, who were playing outside for the first time this spring, and Razorbacks will play two more games this weekend in the three-game non-conference series.
"Today was a tough start for us in the first inning and we really helped Arkansas out," head coach Greg Beals said. "We are playing a very good baseball team in Arkansas and we helped them out too much today. Six out of their 10 runs we put on base ourselves. This is a tough weekend for our team. Opening on the road against a nationally ranked oppnent and being our first time outside this spring, but we cannot use that as an excuse. We are capable of playing better and we need to come out the rest of the weekend and play up to those capabilites."
Arkansas (1-0), which finished third in the 2009 College World Seires, struck early against senior right-hander Brad Piatt (Galveston, Ind./Lewis Cass) as it scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning without recording a base hit. Piatt aided the Razorbacks as he hit two batters, walked two batters and uncorked a pair of wild pitches surrounding two sacrifice flies to give Arkansas an early 3-0 lead.
Ball State (0-1) scored its first run of the season in the top of the fourth inning. Junior second baseman Kolbrin Vitek (Bryan, Ohio/Bryan) started things off with a single into right center field off of Arkansas starter Mike Bolsinger. Vitek moved into scoring position as he stole second base and sophomore first baseman Ian Nielsen (La Porte, Ind./La Porte) continued where he left out last year as he drove him in with a single to center field. Nielsen finished last year third on the team with 53 RBI.
Arkansas added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning against right-hander Perci Garner (Dover, Ohio/Dover). The Razorbacks scored the runs on four singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly to take a 6-1 lead.
Ball State added its second run of the afternoon in the top of the sixth inning against reliever T.J. Forrest. Senior right fielder Ryan Chenoweth (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead) started things off with a double down the right field line. After two outs, senior catcher Zach Dygert (Angola, Ind./Angola) singled to left field to drive in Chenoweth with the Cardinals' second run.
The Razorbacks added a single run in the sixth, two in the seventh and one in the eight against the Cardinals' bullpen to take home the 10-2 victory. Bolsinger (1-0) earned his first victory of the season as he worked 5.0 innings and allowed one run on four hits while striking out six. Forrest turned in four innings of relief and allowed one run on five hits.
Piatt (0-1) picked up the loss as he worked three innings in his first action of the season and allowed three runs on three hits while walking four batters. Garner added 2.1 innings of relief and was charged with four runs on four hits. Sophomore center fielder Cody Elliott (Florence, Ky./Beechwood) recorded two hits in the loss while senior left fielder Kory Benbow (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) also added a pair of hits.
The Cardinals will continue their series with the Razorbacks Saturday afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. (CT) start at Baum Stadium. Sophomore right-hander Cal Bowling (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) will get the start for Ball State on the mound.