MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State baseball team entered Sunday's contest with Northern Illinois undefeated in extra-inning games, and the Cardinals maintained that perfect record with a 2-1 win in 10 innings.
Ball State (17-33, 6-18 MAC) rallied to tie the game in the eighth inning and win it in the 10th to salvage one game of this weekend's three-game series with the Huskies (29-20, 15-9 MAC).
Ball State returns to action Tuesday at 3 p.m. with its final non-conference game of the season at IPFW.
In Sunday's game, the Cardinals struggled to find offensive production for most of the contest, but they managed to find a way to score runs when they had to.
With the game tied 1-1 in the tenth inning, Zach Dygert got things started for Ball State with a leadoff single. Tyler Pritchard came in to pinch run and advanced to second on a throwing error when Northern Illinois attempted to catch the lead runner on a Ryan Chenoweth bunt. Wayne Bond was later hit by a pitch to load the bases and set the stage for pinch hitter Matt Gard. The senior responded by belting a deep sacrifice fly to bring Pritchard home for the game-winning run.
Kyle Heyne earned the win for Ball State after entering the game in the ninth and throwing the final two scoreless innings. Aaron Hammons also threw a scoreless inning in relief of starter Brad Piatt, who pitched seven innings in the strongest outing of his young collegiate career. The freshman right-hander allowed only four hits and one run while striking out a BSU career-high eight batters.
Piatt battled Northern Illinois starter Mark Badgley, who allowed only three hits in 7.2 innings and didn't allow a run until the eighth.
Chenoweth finally broke through for the Cardinals against Badgley with an opposite field solo home run in the eighth to tie the game 1-1. It was the fifth homer of the year for Chenoweth, who led the Cardinals with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate.
Daniel Jewett and Scott Simon led Northern Illinois with two hits each in the game.
Both teams had base runners in the ninth inning, and Northern Illinois advanced a runner to second base in the top of the tenth, but neither team managed another run until Gard's game-winning sac fly.
With the win, Ball State snapped a six-game losing streak. The Cardinals are now 4-0 in extra-inning games this season with all four of those wins coming at Ball Diamond.