Ross Haffey and the rest of the Miami hitters must’ve had a big helping of wheaties prior to this weekend’s series against Ball State.
The RedHawks (21-11, 8-4 MAC) scored 35 runs over the three-game series to take two of three from the Cardinals. After winning the series-opener 17-6, Miami dropped Game Two 13-12 before rebounding to take Sunday’s rubber match 6-5.
The Redshirt senior first baseman Haffey hit six home runs, including five in Friday’s doubleheader, and drove in 13 runs to earn the Mid-American Conference Player of the Week award.
Friday’s Game One started quiet as neither team scored for the first two innings. Senior shortstop Adrian Texidor ended the stalemate with an RBI double that gave Miami a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. With Texidor still on-base, Haffey jacked his first home run of the series and sixth of the season to boost MU’s advantage to 3-0.
Miami’s lead would be fleeting, as Ball State (17-17, 5-7 MAC) plated three in the bottom of the third to tie the score.
Junior catcher Hayden Senger allowed Miami to retake the lead, when he ripped a two-run double in the top of the fifth to make it 5-3 MU. The RedHawks would hold the lead for the rest of the game.
After the Cardinals got one back in the bottom of the fifth, junior right fielder Dallas Hall drove a two-run double to left, making it 7-4.
Haffey hit two more home runs to finish 4-for-4 with three bombs, seven RBIs, five runs scored and two walks. The RedHawks used their highest-scoring output of the season to win 17-6.
Sophomore Spencer Mraz (W, 4-0) was the winning pitcher, as he pitched seven innings and gave up six runs (five earned). He struck out six Cardinal batters.
Originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, Game Two of the series was moved to Friday due to weather concerns.
Haffey didn’t wait long to add to his home run total, crushing one over the fence as just the second batter of the game.
Sophomore third baseman Landon Stephens followed Haffey with a triple and scored a few pitches later on a Senger sacrifice fly to give Miami a 3-0 cushion after a half inning of play.
Continuing the fireworks, Ball State’s sophomore shortstop Noah Powell led off the bottom of the first with a dinger, cutting the Red and White’s lead to 3-1.
Both teams went scoreless in the second — a rare occurrence this weekend — before Stephens cranked his second bomb of the day and freshman center fielder Parker Massman plated a run with an RBI double.
Ball State fired right back with three runs to stay close at 5-4.
Four more Miami runs crossed the plate in the top of the fourth, as Haffey hit an RBI double and Stephens blasted a three-run dinger — his second of the game and third of the afternoon.
Haffey extended the lead to 11-5 with his fifth homer of the day in the sixth.
Miami starter junior Zach Spears turned in five innings of work, giving up five runs, but striking out ten.
Although the ‘Hawks held the lead when Spears was removed to start the bottom of the sixth, the usually solid Miami bullpen wouldn’t hold on for long. Three MU relievers combined to give up seven runs in a wild seventh inning that allowed the Cardinals to take a 12-11 lead.
Following a trend this season, Miami didn’t go down without a fight. Down to their last out, the RedHawks knotted the contest at 12 with a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth. However, Ball State was about to get out of the bases-loaded jam without allowing the ‘Hawks to take the lead.
Miami got a taste of its own medicine when Ball State’s senior second baseman Seth Freed hit a walk-off solo home run to gift the Cardinals with a 13-12 series-tying victory.
Junior Shane Smith (L, 1-2) was dinged with the loss after giving up Freed’s walk-off blast. It was the only hit he surrendered in 1.1 innings pitched.
The two teams got an off-day Saturday before Sunday’s series-finale.
In predictable fashion, Ross Haffey went yard for the sixth time in the series to kick off Game Three’s scoring.
The Cardinals responded right away – crushing a three-run homer of their own in the bottom of the first to hold an early 3-1 lead.
Miami cut its deficit to 3-2 in the top of the second. Massman started the inning with a single and was driven in on a double by junior left fielder Mackay Williams.
The ‘Hawks jumped back in front that same inning as sophomore second baseman Will Vogelgesang recorded his first career home run — a two-run shot — to put MU up 4-3.
After Ball State tallied two more runs, freshman Cristian Tejada came in from third on an infield single by Texidor to tie the score at five.
Trying to catch up to Haffey, Stephens launched his fourth four-bagger of the weekend to put Miami ahead 6-5.
That score would hold until the ninth inning.
After allowing Freed’s walk-off home run on Friday, Shane Smith came on and redeemed himself, holding Ball State scoreless to clinch a 6-5 victory and a fourth-straight MAC series win.
Junior Cole Gnetz got the win for his 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He allowed two hits and one walk, while striking out six.
The series victory marked the first time Miami has started 4-0 in MAC series since 2005. That season, the RedHawks won the MAC Tournament and received an NCAA Tournament berth.
Miami hopes to carry over its weekend offensive performance into tonight when they travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.