MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State baseball team knocked off in-state rival Indiana State 12-6 Tuesday afternoon at Ball Diamond as all nine players in the starting lineup notched a hit in the victory. The win improves to the Cardinals to 17-19 on the season while the loss is just the Sycamores' 11th setback of the season as ISU falls to 23-11 on the year. The victory is also the Cardinals' seventh straight against Indiana State in Muncie dating back to the 1997 season.
Senior right-hander Brad Piatt (Galveston, Ind./Lewis Cass) earned his first victory of the season as he worked 5.0 strong innings and only allowed one run on eight hits. Piatt did not walk a batter and threw 45 of his 65 pitches for strikes. He was aided by the Cardinals' defense which turned two double plays behind him and freshman right fielder Blake Beemer (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont) had a second inning outfield assist.
Ball State scored six runs in its first two innings at the plate and added six additional runs in its last two innings at the dish. Junior T.J. Baumet (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) tallied three of the Cardinals' 13 hits and drove in three runs, while Beemer added two hits and scored three runs.
Indiana State opened the scoring in the top of the first inning against Piatt. Sycamore left fielder hit his first home run of the season over the right field wall to give ISU an early 1-0 lead.
Ball State answered back in the bottom of the first inning with two runs against ISU right-hander JT Stenftenagel. Beemer singled with one out to start the rally. Junior Kolbrin Vitek (Bryan, Ohio/Bryan) followed with a single to right field. Indiana State tried to throw Beemer out at third but he was safe and the ensuing throw to second to get Vitek sailed into right field to plate Beemer. Senior Zach Dygert (Angola, Ind./Angola) put the Cardinals in front 2-1 with a run-scoring double to left field.
The Cardinals chased Stenftenagel from the game in the second inning as the first four batters reached base. Freshmen Stephen Claypool (Dearborn, Mich./Divine Child) and Kirby Campbell (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Sophomore Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) extended his hitting streak to 14 straight games as he dropped down a perfect bunt to load the bases.
Baumet quickly cleared the bases as he ripped a three-run double down the left field line to make it a 5-1 contest. After Baumet moved to third on a fly ball, the Cardinals scored their sixth run of the game as ISU threw the ball away on a fielder's choice to extend the inning and score Baumet.
Piatt held the Sycamores in check for the first 5.0 innings until ISU plated two runs in the top of the sixth inning against right-handed reliever Cody Elliot (Florence, Ky./Beechwood). The Sycamores tallied three straight hits to open the inning to score their second run of the game. Elliott limited the damage as he got two more outs before ISU scored its second on the inning with the aid of a BSU error to make it a 6-3 contest.
Indiana State narrowed the BSU lead to 6-5 with two more runs in the top of the seventh inning. The Sycamores scored two runs on two hits and a walk as Luke Fieser and Robby Ort drove in runs to make it a one-run contest.
Ball State responded to the ISU push and scored four runs in the bottom half of the seventh to extend the lead to 10-5. Baumet led the inning off with a single and Beemer reached base as ISU attempted to get Baumet out at second base on a sacrifice bunt attempt but he was safe putting two aboard with nobody out. After Vitek moved the runners over, Indiana State decided to intentionally walk Dygert to load the bases.
Sophomore Ian Nielsen (La Porte, Ind./La Porte) stepped up and proved the move costly as he ripped a ground rule double to center field to plate two runs. Senior Kory Benbow (Muncie, Ind./Cowan) capped the inning as he poked a two-run single past a drawn in infield to make it a 10-5 ball game.
The Cardinals wrapped up the offense in the bottom of the eighth inning as they tacked on two more runs to take a 12-5 lead. Baumet started the spurt by drawing an eight-pitch walk with two outs. Beemer followed with his second hit of the afternoon as he lined a ball through the right side to put two aboard. Vitek crushed the first pitch he saw from left-hander Kevin Mann into the left center field gap for his team-leading third triple of the year.
Stenftenagel (2-1) was charged with the loss as he allowed six runs on seven hits in just 1.0 inning of work. Brett Merkley worked 4.0 innings of one-hit baseball before four more Sycamore pitchers combined to allow six runs in the final 3.0 innings of the contest.
The Cardinals continue their non-conference midweek Wednesday afternoon as they travel to Indianapolis to face Butler at 3 p.m.