For the first time this season, an opponent had the Miami RedHawks reeling in a weekend series.
The Ball State Cardinals (25-14, 9-4 Mid-American) claimed the opening two games of the three-game set, before Miami (30-9, 11-4 MAC) won Game Three to avoid the sweep.
It was the RedHawks’ first series loss of 2019.
Statistic of the weekend
Ball State came to Oxford and, with a 3-2 Saturday victory, became the first team to defeat Miami at Hayden Park this season. The Cardinals repeated with a 6-1 victory in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader.
The RedHawks were previously a perfect 14-0 at home but now sit at 15-2.
Before playing Miami, the Cardinals had a subpar 5-9 away record. They now sport a 7-10 mark in that category.
On Friday, Miami freshman Sam Bachman was dealing. Through 5 2/3 innings, he struck out seven and hadn’t allowed a hit. His effort was matched by Ball State sophomore Drey Jameson, who allowed only one hit and K’d nine through five.
Neither team could break the 0-0 tie.
Then, the rain started.
The game, to be picked up exactly where it left off in the top of the sixth, was postponed until Saturday morning.
“It was a really good start for Sam,” Miami head coach Danny Hayden said. “I mean, it was fun to watch. That’s one of the first true pitchers’ duels, I would say, we’ve had ourselves. We’ve had some good starts from our guys. We’ve run into a couple good starts from other teams, too. Watching those two guys [Bachman and Jameson] go back and forth was pretty cool to watch.”
The Cardinals got on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh inning. After two Miami errors, they utilized an RBI bunt single to bring home the first run of the ballgame. An RBI single into right field — Ball State’s second and last hit — tacked on two more runs.
Down 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the RedHawks loaded the bases with one out but plated only two of those runners. They fell 3-2.
Once again, weather forced Saturday’s second game to be canceled, turning Sunday into a doubleheader.
Junior starter Spencer Mraz, after taking a no-hit bid into the eighth inning in his last outing, didn’t have the same type of luck against the Cardinals. He allowed five runs in the first three innings, and Miami never recovered.
Each team scored a run in the ninth, as Ball State won 6-1.
“Game One [on Saturday] was frustrating, when you have that many opportunities to score, and you just can’t get the big hit,” Hayden said. “I didn’t think we played a bad game offensively, but we just could not get a big hit when we needed one.”
In the opening inning of the series finale, the RedHawks earned their first lead of the series on a one-run single by junior catcher Cal Elvers.
Starting in the top of the third, the two squads bounced the lead back and forth.
The Cardinals jumped ahead with a two-run double, but Miami knotted up the score with a run-scoring double play in the bottom of the inning. In its next at-bat, Ball State added three more tallies to take a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, junior infielder Landon Stephens chopped an infield single that scored a run. During the same play, a second runner crossed home plate on a Ball State throwing error to make it 5-4.
The next inning, Miami seized the lead for good.
Redshirt junior left fielder Kyle Winkler walked with the bases loaded to tie the game, before junior infielder Will Vogelgesang delivered a base hit into right-center field that brought in two more.
The RedHawks held on for the 7-5 victory.
“I really will give a lot of credit to our guys for grinding it out and finding a way to win a baseball game when you have that much frustration built into the beginning of the game,” Hayden said.
After Miami’s series against the Cardinals ended its nine-game road trip, the RedHawks will remain in their friendly confines for four more games.
Tonight, they host the Xavier Musketeers (16-23, 7-1 Big East) at 5 p.m. before the Northern Illinois Huskies (12-27, 8-7 MAC) travel in for a three-game weekend series, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Based on the typical midweek rotation, senior Bailey Martin is Miami’s probable starter for tonight’s game.