CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - At the plate, the Ball State baseball team cranked out a season-high 16 hits Saturday at Austin Peay. On the mound, Cardinals' starting pitcher Tyler Pritchard had his best performance of the young season. The combined effort resulted in a 10-1 Ball State victory at Raymond C. Hand Park.
Ball State improves to 2-7 on the season, while Austin Peay drops to 3-3. The final game of the weekend series is scheduled for Sunday at Noon CT (1 p.m. Muncie time.)
Second baseman Jeremy Hazelbaker pounded out three hits Saturday to lead Ball State, and four other Cardinals chipped in two hits apiece.
Ball State broke open a close game in the seventh inning with five runs. Hazelbaker led off the inning, reaching second base on a fielding error. Wayne Bond followed with an RBI single to bring Hazelbaker home.
Bond later scored on a wild pitch, and then with the bases loaded, Matt Gard drew a walk to bring home Matt Stoeklen, the third run of the inning. Tyler Rogers capped the sixth with a two-RBI single to left field, scoring Alex Schmid and Kory Benbow.
By the time Ball State made its third out, the Cardinals had turned a 2-1 lead into a 7-1 advantage. Ball State added two runs in the eighth inning and tacked on one more in the ninth on an RBI double from pinch hitter Joe Mack.
While Ball State was getting its bats going on offense, Pritchard was mowing down Austin Peay hitters. The junior right-hander allowed the first three hitters to reach safely and the leadoff hitter to score, but he rebounded by striking out the next three batters, setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
Pritchard threw six innings and allowed just two more hits. He gave up just the one run and struck out six batters on the way to picking up his first win of the season.
Ball State scored its first run of the day on an RBI single from Gard in the second inning, tying the game 1-1. The game remained tied until Schmid singled in the sixth inning to score Ryan Chenoweth, giving the Cardinals a lead they would not lose.
Gard and Tyler Rogers each finished with two RBI for Ball State.