MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State baseball team picked up an 11-7 non-conference victory over Northwestern Ohio Tuesday afternoon at Ball Diamond. First baseman Billy Wellman (Portland, Ind./Jay County) drove in a career-high five runs in the victory while freshman Brandon Estep (Selma, Ind./Wapahani) notched his first career home run giving the Cardinals the lead for good in the seventh inning.
Northwestern Ohio (23-18) took the game's first lead in the top of the first inning against freshman right-hander Scott Baker (North Manchester, Ind./Manchester). Baker got the first two outs of the inning quickly and got in front of Ben Smith 1-2 before he hit a solo home run over the right field wall for the 1-0 Racers' lead.
Ball State (9-25) answered right back in the bottom half of the first inning as Northwestern Ohio starter Ryan Burns walked two batters. Wellman gave the Cardinals the lead as he ripped a two-run double into right center field. The Cardinals took a 3-1 lead as he scored on a wild pitch and a Racers' throwing error allowing him to score from second base.
After the Racers scored a run in the second inning, Ball State retook a two-run lead in the third inning. Mitch Widau (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) led off with a walk and moved to third as Estep singled into center field. Widau came home to score the Cardinals' fourth run as Burns uncorked a wild pitch.
Northwestern Ohio came back in the top of the fifth inning scoring two runs chasing Baker from the game tied at 4-4. Ball State responded in the bottom of the fifth as Wellman crushed a three-run home run off the scoreboard in left center field for his second long ball of the season giving the Cardinals a 7-4 lead.
The Racers tied the game against the Ball State bullpen with three runs in the seventh inning. Northwestern Ohio got the big hit of the inning off the bat of Dylan Brammer as he hit a two-run home run over the left field wall to tie the game at 7-7.
Ball State came right back in the bottom half of the seventh against left-hander Patricio Pena. After the Cardinals got a runner on base, Estep drilled a 1-2 pitch high over the left field wall for his first career home run giving the Cardinals a 9-7 lead.
The Cardinals added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as they took advantage of a pair of Northwestern Ohio fielding errors to take an 11-7 lead.
Right-hander Tyler Jordan (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) retired the last seven batters he faced to pick up his first career victory. Pena (1-3) was charged with the loss in relief allowing four runs on three hits in 3.0 innings of work.
Ball State returns to Ball Diamond this weekend for a three-game series against Mid-American Conference West Division foe Eastern Michigan. First pitch Friday is set for 3 p.m.