Sunday's MAC Baseball Results
Ball State 8, Central Michigan 1
Eastern Michigan 13, Western Michigan 4
Bowling Green 6, Ohio 3
Northern Illinois 8, Toledo 7
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Ball State 8, Central Michigan 1
MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State baseball team picked up its eighth Mid-American Conference victory of the season Sunday afternoon as the Cardinals defeated preseason MAC West Division favorite Central Michigan 8-1 at Ball Diamond. The victory improves the Cardinals to 8-6 in league play this season while the Chippewas fall to 9-6 in MAC action.
Senior right-hander Morgan Coombs (Terre Haute, Ind./Lincoln Trail) was stellar on the mound for the Cardinals are he tossed a career-high 8.0 innings and allowed just one run. Coombs limited the Chippewas to five hits while striking out six batters to improved to 4-3 on the year.
Junior second baseman Tim Issler (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) led the Cardinals' 16-hit attack as he posted a career-high five hits in the victory. Issler hit five singles on the afternoon in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings surpassing his previous career-high of three hits. The Cardinals' 16 hits match their season-high as they reached the mark March 18 at Belmont.
Central Michigan threatened in the top of the second inning but Coombs buckled down to keep the Chippewas off the board. Matt Faiman led off the inning as he tripled into the gap in right center field. Coombs stranded Faiman at third as he struck out two batters and got a pop fly to first base to end the inning.
Ball State took the momentum from the top of the inning and opened the scoring against right-hander Jake Sabol. Issler and freshman Sean Godfrey (New Albany, Ind./New Albany) put two aboard with back-to-back two out singles. Sophomore catcher Kevin Franchetti (Highland, Ind./Andrean) put the Cardinals in front 1-0 as he dropped a single down the left field line to score Issler.
Ball State broke open the game in the bottom of the fourth inning as it chased Sabol from the game. Sophomore Blake Beemer (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont) and Issler led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Godfrey drove in the first run of the inning as he singled through the left side to make it a 2-0 game.
After a wild pitch moved two into scoring position, sophomore left fielder Wes Winkle (Muncie, Ind./Yorktown) dropped a two-run single into center field for a 4-0 lead. Junior Cody Elliott (Florence, Ky./Beechwood) kept the inning going as he doubled off the left field wall to score Winkle. Senior T.J. Baumet singled to end Sabol's afternoon and move Elliott to third base. The Cardinals capped the scoring as they executed a double steal plating Elliott to make it a 6-0 game.
The Cardinals extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning against left-hander Mike Nixon. Issler got things going as he poked his third straight single into center field. Franchetti put the Cardinals in front 8-0 as he hit his first career home run high over the left field wall.
Central Michigan was finally able to get to Coombs in the eighth inning scratching a run across the plate. Sam Russell drew a leadoff walk and moved to third after one out as Nate Theunissen notched a pinch hit single to center field. Coombs limited the Chippewas to just one run as he got Tyler Hall to lift a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Sabol (3-3) picked up the loss as lasted just 3.1 innings and allowed six runs on 10 hits as the first of five CMU pitchers.
Ball State will be off during the midweek before returning to MAC play next weekend with a three-game series at Ypsilanti, Mich., against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
Eastern Michigan 13, Western Michigan 4
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Eastern Michigan tallied 16 hits, posting a 13-4 win over Western Michigan to complete a series sweep of the Broncos Sunday.
All four of Western Michigan's runs came in the fourth, as WMU briefly led 4-3. The Eagles went on to score seven runs over the next three innings to regain control and tacked on three more runs in the ninth.
Eric Heckaman took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned), three hits, walking four and striking out one over 1.1 innings. The earned runs were the first against Heckaman's ERA this season. He entered the game having gone 25.1 innings without giving up an earned run.
Starter Steve Laudicina threw 4.2 innings and gave up six runs (four earned) and seven hits.
Troy Forton and Jack Scanlon each had a pair of hits and doubled for Western Michigan. The Broncos totaled 11 hits all together.
Western Michigan falls to 18-21, 7-8 in the MAC after the weekend. Eastern Michigan upped its record to 24-15, 9-6 MAC.
Bowling Green 6, Ohio 3
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- In an act of redemption, the Bowling Green Falcon baseball team battled to a 6-3 victory on Easter Sunday from the friendly confines of Warren Steller Field (Bowling Green, Ohio) avoiding the series sweep and reacquiring a winning record in Mid-American Conference play.
Bowling Green rebounded at the plate scoring six runs on eight hits and one Ohio error. The Brown and Orange also received solid pitching performances from starter Charles Wooten (Elmore, Ohio), Ethan McKenney (Defiance, Ohio) and #Mike Frank# (Maumee, Ohio) in the win. Combined, the trio limited the Bobcats to three runs on eight hits and stranded five Ohio runners on base.
Wooten went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, while striking out one OU batter in the no-decision. He left the game in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second and two outs, handing the ball off the McKenney (2-3). The freshman retired Ethan Newton to end the inning on top of pitching a scoreless eighth inning en route to his second career win. Frank earned his fifth save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning and striking out one Bobcat hitter. He ended the game fielding a rocket from Garrett Black's bat that deflected off the sophomore's leg. Frank recovered and tossed to first for the final out of the game, ending in a 6-3 win for Bowling Green.
The Falcons took an early 2-0 lead posting a run in both the second and third innings. Ryan Schlater (St. Paris, Ohio) broke a 0-for-10 slump stemming from Saturday's doubleheader with a perfect 3-for-3 day from the plate. His first hit gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead when he cracked a run-scoring single in the second inning, scoring Clay Duncan (Norwalk, Ohio) from second base.
Jon Berti (Troy, Mich.) added to that lead with a RBI single up the middle to plate fellow co-captain Frank Berry (Virginia Beach, Va.). The Falcons nearly scored a third run on a delayed double steal with runners on the corners later in the inning but the return throw from the Ohio shortstop, Black, was caught and the tag applied in time at the plate to retire Berti and end the inning.
Ohio sliced into the lead with a run in the top of the fourth inning courtesy of a throwing error by Jon Berti. In an attempt to end the inning with a 4-6-3 double play, Berti's throw was off-course and flew past first baseman Clay Duncan, allowing one run to score in the process.
The Falcons returned fire and got the run back on Ryan Schlater's second RBI single of the day, this time finding a hole through the left side to score Duncan from third base. The score prompted the Bobcats to go to the bullpen, pulling OU starter Jason Moulton (2-1).
Prior to Wooten leaving in the seventh, Ohio tied the game at three runs with a RBI base hit from Black. Trace Voshell's fielder's choice allowed Tyler Emody to score from third but before Wooten left the game, Black singled home the tying run with an infield hit to shortstop Jon Berti.
Jeremy Shay (Garden City, Mich.) continued to swing a hot bat and played hero for the Falcons with the game-winning hit in the eighth inning. Passed balls and walks hurt the Bobcats that inning as Matt Pitzulo (Poland, Ohio) and Clay Duncan preceded Shay with a single and a walk, respectively. With runners at first and second, Shay showed bunt twice but watched each pitch fly out of the strike zone before being given the green light by head coach Danny Schmitz. With a 2-0 count, Shay belted a line drive into the left center field gap, scoring both runners on the play and giving the Falcons a 5-3 advantage. Pinch running for Shay, Taylor Rhoades (Wheaton, Ill.) later scored after being forced to third base following two walks. On the first out of the inning, a swinging strike three call turned into a passed ball and a run scored. Patrick Lancaster struck out but the ball skipped off the glove of OU catcher Trace Voshell, allowing Rhoades to score from third and extend the Falcon lead to three.
Mike Frank then came in and closed the door on the game, guiding the Falcons to their eighth MAC win of the season, 6-3.
Despite only going 1-for-3 on Sunday, Shay finished the weekend 4-for-6 over two games on the weekend with a pair of doubles, runs batted in and walks. Ryan Schlater redeemed himself after a hitless Saturday with a 2-for-3 day from the plate on Sunday, notching two RBI as well. He also threw two Bobcats out on the base paths from behind the dish on the day.
With the win, the Falcons (19-21, 8-7) climb within two games of Miami for second place in the MAC East. Kent State leads the division with a 12-3 record in conference play.
Bowling Green will play at Central Michigan on Tuesday, April 26 in Mount Pleasant, Mich. for a non-conference game. The game will begin at 3 p.m. Next weekend, BGSU will travel to Oxford, Ohio to play a three-game set with the Miami RedHawks in a key MAC East showdown. Friday's game at Miami will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday the teams will play at 3 p.m. and the finale on Sunday will be played at 1 p.m.
Northern Illinois 8, Toledo 7
DeKALB, Ill. - With help from a Ball State win over Central Michigan, Northern Illinois took over first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division after hanging on late for an 8-7 win over Toledo on Easter Sunday afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field.
NIU, CMU and UT entered the day in a three-way tie for first place atop the division, but it was only the Huskies that remained when the day was done. However, it was not easy for NIU as the Huskies notched their fourth straight MAC series win for the first time since starting the 2007 campaign with four in a row.
The Huskies (19-18, 10-5 MAC) scored their first run on a walk by Joe Etcheverry with one out in the first inning and Alex Beckmann and Alex Jones on base after singles. The obscurity of the run was a precursor to how the game unfolded. What happened on the walk was both runners were running on a full count, and even though ball four was thrown to catcher Jim Vahalik, he threw to third. Joe Corfman was not ready for the throw, which was low any way, and it rolled into left field, allowing Beckmann to score.
Down 1-0, Toledo (20-19, 9-6 MAC) bounced back with a solo home run by Dan Sherwood in the second to tie the game.
Then the Huskies put up four runs in the third to take momentary command of the game. Jamison Wells led off with a double and scored on Beckmann's triple. Following a Jones sacrifice fly, Etcheverry walked and Troy White singled and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Jeff Zimmerman cashed in on the mistake by driving a two-run single up the middle to cap the scoring and give NIU a 5-1 lead.
However, the Rockets started to get aggressive early in the count against Gonzales, who was looking sharp once again as he was trying to bounce back from a rough start last Sunday at Ohio. The first four hitters of the fourth inning for UT took action on the first pitch and reached base, resulting in one run and eventually another on a sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, after just nine pitches, the Rockets had the bases loaded. Following a wild pitch that scored a run, Mark Lapikas singled home a run and Corfman drove in a run on a fielder's choice force at second. Just after it looked like Gonzales was back on track, he was out of the game after allowing six runs on nine hits and one walk with two strikeouts in four innings.
"They are a team that attacks first pitches when they get down," said NIU head coach Ed Mathey. "That fourth inning, they had four hitters see four pitches and all of them were successful. Gonzo was throwing the ball real well early in the game. He crept up in the zone after a while and Toledo was all over him."
Like the Huskies have done during their 19-8 stretch over their last 27 games, they never gave up. Even an unconventional 1-5-2-4 double play, which ruined a hopeful fifth inning, could not hold the Huskies back as NIU reclaimed the lead in the seventh with a pair of runs.
Beckmann took one for the team to start the seventh and Jones backed it up with a single through the right side that was mishandled by right fielder Jeff Cola. The error allowed Beckmann to score and Jones to move all the way to third. An out later, White's sacrifice fly put NIU on top 7-6.
Then the fateful eighth inning happened. After a one-out single by Sherwood, NIU went to close Kyle Glancy, hoping he'd be able to improve to 9-for-9 in save chances. In his first sequence, Glancy gave up a pinch-hit single to Jason Edwards, moving the tying run to third. Wes White followed with a grounder to third that Troy White, who extend his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 15 games, turned into an out at home, moving the tying run to second base with two outs. But then Chris Dudics shot a single up the middle to tie the game, giving Glancy his first blown save of the year.
However, that was not the worst part of the damage. Glancy's next two pitches were well high and outside, the first was wild and moved the runners up 90 feet. Shaking his right hand after the second, Mathey and trainer Rob Dyson met with the junior closer on the mound. After his hand was examined, Glancy tried to throw another pitch but the same results happened -- way high and away.
In came Ben Etcheverry to try to get out of a sticky situation. Already down 2-0 in the count, the sophomore walked Cola to load the bases for three-hitter Ben Hammer, who lined out softly to first base. The play completely switched the momentum as the Huskies excitedly ran to the dugout to get ready to hit.
Feeling the momentum, Jordan Rishavy led off the eighth with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Then Brett Frantini's well-placed sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a hit. With the go-ahead run 90 feet away, UT went to its stopper Matt Zahel, who entered the game with nine saves and a 1.47 ERA. Facing Jake Hermsen, Zahel unleashed his second wild pitch of the season and Rishavy scored the game-winning run before Zahel retired all three batters he faced.
In the ninth, Etcheverry (2-0) withstood a pair of two-out singles to hang on for his second straight win, finishing off a fantastic effort by the bullpen. Over the final five frames, Alex Klonowski, Tony Manville, Glancy and Etcheverry combined to hold the Rockets to one run on four hits and two walks with one strikeout.
"I have to give some props to Ben Etcheverry for stepping up in the back end of the bullpen," Mathey said. "Unfortunately, Kyle Glancy had something happen to his hand. He wasn't right and we needed to get him out of there. We lost our comfort zone with Kyle, the guy who has been back there and doing a great job. Ben stepped up, and it wasn't pretty, but he got it done."
In getting their first series win over Toledo since 2005, the Huskies also grabbed control of the tiebreaker between the two teams if the situation presents itself at the end of the regular season.
"This is a big day for a lot of reasons," said Mathey. "First, we won the series with the series on the line. Second, it's a series win against Toledo, who has been pretty good over the years and seems to have our numbers. Now, we are playing against our side of the division and we maintained first place for another week.
"Obviously, we defended our ground here at The Ralph. Our kids showed a lot of heart for fighting and scrapping. It wasn't the prettiest game but that's what happens sometimes when you have two teams that really want to win and get revved up to play. We did it in some unconventional ways but we'll take it."
Next up for NIU is a trip to Peoria, Ill., to face Bradley for the second time this season. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday, April 26, a day before the Huskies host UW-Milwaukee at Elfstrom Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals Low-A affiliate Kane County Cougars, in Geneva, Ill., at 6:05 p.m.