Bulls Can't Overcome Early Leads in Sweep
BUFFALO, NY - Ball State combined to score nine runs in the first three innings of games one and two, helping the visiting Cardinals to a sweep of the Friday afternoon doubleheader at Amherst Audubon Field. Though the team received strong individual efforts, it was unable to come back from early deficits and lost both games, 7-4 and 8-3.
In the opening game, Ball State (10-23) earned a 4-0 lead before the Bulls could respond in the bottom of the third. Tom Murphy came through with a two-out single to left field with the bases loaded to cut the lead in half, 4-2. The offense would go quiet until two more runs came across in the bottom of the ninth. Three singles loaded the bases again for UB, and this time it was Matt Pollock who cashed in, hitting a 3-2 single just over the glove of a leaping third baseman, scoring Michael Burke and Alex Baldock. Kevin Crumb took the loss, giving up four runs (one earned) over six innings, striking out six but walking five. Freshman Cory Folk pitched three innings of relief.
Game two got off to a very rocky start as the Cardinals scored two runs in the first inning and three more in the third. After scoring three more runs in the fourth off of starter Josh Edwards, the bullpen was called into early action with one out and two men on base. Kevin Hughes stepped in with the two quick outs to escape the jam, then proceed to shut the door on the Ball State offense, throwing three hitless innings and striking out four. Then came Daniel Ginader, who also excelled, throwing 1.2 innings with only a hit and walk allowed. River McWilliams also added a hitless and scoreless inning of relief as the bullpen was a shining star in game two.
As for the offense, Buffalo's conference woes were only exacerbated as the starting nine only had six hits. It was the bottom of the order that was productive in the evening game, as Michael Burke and Andrew Smietana combine to go 4-7 in the seventh and ninth slots, respectively, and also all three runs batted in. Edwards took the loss as the starter, throwing 3.1 innings.
Buffalo (7-25, 0-11 MAC) will have a day off tomorrow with poor weather in the forecast. Game three of the series will be Sunday at 1 pm, weather permitting.