MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. - The Ball State baseball team dropped a hard fought 7-4 non-conference contest against the College of Charleston Wednesday afternoon at Patriots Point. The loss drops the Cardinals to 4-9 on the season while the Cougars improve to 11-3.
Senior left fielder Kory Benbow (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) paced the Cardinals in the loss as he tallied a double and a triple, while scoring two of Ball State's four runs. The game is Benbow's fourth multiple-hit contest of the season and his second game with multiple extra base hits.
The College of Charleston, which is receiving votes in national polls, opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as it scored two runs off left-handed starter Derek Grabner (Fort Wayne, Ind./Lincoln Trail). The Cougars tallied three hits in the inning, including a two-run double by Kolby Epley to take a 2-0 lead.
Charleston extended its lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third inning as it scored three times off of Grabner. The big hit of the inning was a two-run home run off the bat of Greg Blake.
Ball State got its offense going in the top of the fifth inning against starter Matt Pegler. Freshman Blake Beemer (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont) led off the inning with a single and Benbow drove in the Cardinals' first run of the game as he tripled into right center field.
Freshman third baseman Stephen Claypool (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn Divine Child) followed with the Cardinals' second extra-base hit of the inning as he doubled down the right field line, plating Benbow. Pegler was able to get the next two outs before junior T.J. Baumet (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) singled through the left side to score Claypool and narrow the gap to 5-3.
Ball State pulled within one run in the top of the seventh inning as Benbow led off with a double down the right field line. After moving to third base, freshman Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Benbow and cut the lead to 5-4.
Charleston answered back in the bottom of the seventh inning against left-handed reliever Jon Cisna (Homer Glen, Ill./Lockport Township). The Cougars led off with back-to-back singles before Matt Leeds drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Cisna allowed the second run to score as he uncorked a wild pitch to make it a 7-4 game. Ball State threatened in the top of the eighth inning but stranded two aboard to thwart the potential rally.
Grabner (0-1) allowed five runs on seven hits in his first career start as he went just 3.0 innings in the loss. Senior right-hander Scott Brothers Jr. (Monticello, Ind./Gulf Coast CC) added 3.0 scoreless innings in relief as he held Charleston to just one hit. Cisna was charged with two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings of work.
Pegler (1-0) went 5.0 innings for the Cougars and allowed three runs on five hits while striking out five. Reliever Heath Hembree came on in the ninth inning and recorded the final three outs of the game to notch his second save of the year.
The Cardinals will wrap up their 2010 spring break trip this weekend as they return to Coastal Carolina for the Caravelle Resort Classic. Ball State will face Michigan Friday, Lipscomb Saturday and Illinois Sunday to conclude their stretch of nine games in 10 days.