Ball State Beats Central Michigan, 2-1, In 12 Innings

Updated 5/19/2000
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    KENT, Ohio (May 19) - Doug Boone hit a leadoff home run in the top of the 12th inning to propel third-seeded Ball State University to a wild 2-1 victory over second-seeded Central Michigan University May 19 at the 2000 Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament at Gene Michael Field.

    The 12 innings made the game the longest in MAC tournament history. The battle went three hours and 34 minutes.

    Controversy arose in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Central Michigan appeared to have two on and two out, but Mike Gates' bat was deemed illegal by the home plate umpire.

    "I was pretty confident the bat didn't have a BESR sticker," Ball State head coach Rich Maloney said. "I'm sorry that the bat thing had to be an issue, but it was within the rules. It was unfortunate for Central and it was fortunate for us."

    In the top of the sixth, Scott French doubled to left and Jeremy Ridley doubled him home to score Ball State's first run.

    Central Michigan (41-17) answered with a run in the sixth inning. Jason Helps led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Shaun Gragg. Pinch hitter Mike Steele singled Helps to third and Tim Bullinger sent him home with a single to right.

    In the top of the 10th, Ball State (34-22) had the bases loaded and one out, but a deep fly to center field by French was caught by Crowley, who threw out a tagging Boone at home plate.

    The Chippewas also had a great chance to score in the fifth inning when Kevin Uzarski and Jake Crowley led the inning off with back-to-back singles. After Jake Sanborn struck out looking, Mike Galloway walked. Gates grounded up the middle as Jeremy Ridley made a diving stop to start the inning-ending double play.

    Paul Henry (1-1) picked up the victory, going 3 2/3 innings of one hit relief while striking out three. Jeff Garner (6-4) suffered the loss for the Chippewas.

    Central Michigan starter Dan Schell pitched nine-plus innings of five-hit, one-run baseball, striking out eight Cardinals on the afternoon.

    "Dan pitched outstanding," Central Michigan head coach Judd Folske said. "He had great control of his curve. Their pitching also was outstanding."

    With the loss, Central Michigan is eliminated from the tournament. Ball State will play Saturday, May 20, at noon, versus either Miami University or Ohio University.