Ball State University might have edged out Miami University 10-9 in scoring in this past weekend’s three-game series, but the RedHawks ultimately took two games and the series.
The Red and White (18-19, 9-6 MAC) struggled to get anything going offensively Friday, as sophomore right-hander Scott Baker allowed just five hits in a complete game for the Cardinals. He suffered his first loss of the season though, after two balks and a ground out drove junior infielder Dan Walsh in for the only score of the game.
Senior right-hander Brooks Fiala struck out 12 batters through eight innings for Miami, one “K” shy of his career record. Fiala (5-4) was pulled in favor of sophomore closer Ryan Powers, who worked his way out of a bases loaded jam in the final inning to conquer the Cardinals, 1-0.
Saturday was less successful for the RedHawks, as they fell 5-2. Senior pitcher Matt Thoreson took the loss to fall to 3-5 on the year, allowing five runs in just over five innings of work. Junior Charles Zubrod took the mound and surrendering just three hits and no runs for the remainder of the game.
“We were trailing when I came in and that was the second time I’ve come in a few weeks where I came in with the bases loaded and one out,” Zubrod said. “I just had to come in and throw strikes, and go right at them. It was my job to keep us as close as we could.”
The final game in the series was the deciding one. Ball State would not go quietly, and as Sunday’s game wound down, the RedHawks got out of several jams and finished off its foe, 6-5. Six pitchers were used in various capacities for Miami. Senior pitcher Cory Klenke, the fifth RedHawk to take the mound, earned his second career win. The Cardinals stranded 14 runners on base throughout the game, as Klenke and company stifled any chance of a Ball State comeback.
“We had some guys step up this weekend,” Walsh said of his teammates. “Cory Klenke came up big, and Brooks [Fiala] was outstanding on Friday, which was great to see. We’re fortunate to get a couple wins in close ball games that we really needed.”
Walsh said he looks forward to the rest of the year.
“We’re going in with a better mindset to just play our game,” Walsh said. “If we play well, we’re probably going to win the game. That’s a good feeling … knowing that we control our own destiny.”
The RedHawks return to action with a mid-week home and home against the University of Dayton. The ‘Hawks will play at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Dayton and 6 p.m. Wednesday, in Oxford.