Junior lefthander Jason Hickman hurled a six-hit complete game to
lead third-seeded Ball State University to a 7-1 victory over top-seeded
and host Kent State University in the third round of the 2000
Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament Thursday at Gene Michael
Hickman (2-0) was in command throughout the game for the
Cardinals, who bounced back from a 5-2 upset at the hands of Ohio
University in the first round. He allowed two hits in an inning only
once and permitted just two Kent runners to reach third base.
"I knew we had to have a well-pitched game and today Hickman was
simply marvelous," said Ball State head coach Rich Maloney.
"It's unsung heroes that decide how a tournament goes and he threw the
best game of his career when we had to have it."
The Cardinals (33-22) scored all the runs they would need in the
top of the third inning, plating six runs off Kent starter Doug
Straight (8-2). An error by Kent first baseman John
VanBenschoten on MAC Player of the Year Shayne Ridley's
ground ball allowed the second run to score and opened the door for Ball
State, which proceeded to break the game open. Matt Wood
followed the error with a sacrifice fly that scored Jeremy Ridley
and Matt Deckman singled in Shayne Ridley. Doug Boone
then hit his 11th home run of the season to stretch the Cardinals' lead
"If you take away that inning, it's a pretty even game," Kent
head coach Rick Rembielak said. "It's never easy in the
tournament. What it comes down to is the teams that break first. Doug
(Straight) wasn't at the top of his game but there's nobody else I
wanted out there."
The Golden Flashes (40-16) trimmed the deficit to 6-1 in the
fourth inning when Hickman issued back-to-back walks to Dan
Gutschmidt and Craig Whitaker. Number-nine hitter Chris
Detweiler then bounced a bad-hop single over the head of Shayne
Ridley at shortstop to score Gutschmidt.
Ball State, the MAC's West Division co-champion, tacked on
another run in the sixth inning when a fielding error by Whitaker on
Aaron Zehnal's single to center allowed Jimmy Long to score from
Other than the six-run third, Straight allowed only one run and
three hits in six innings of work. Scott Diehl pitched a perfect
seventh inning in relief.
Ball State will meet Central Michigan University Friday at 1
p.m., while Kent will play either Ohio University or Miami University at