Late Surge Not Enough, Ball State Defeats Ohio 5-4

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Two men stood stranded to end the Ohio Bobcats’ final threat to the Ball State Cardinals (18-19, 7-9) as the Cards took home a 5-4 victory Friday. Jake Miller was hit with his fifth loss, despite throwing seven innings with seven strikeouts.

The Bobcats (10-30, 5-11) overcame a one-run Ball State lead in the third inning. Ben Otto kicked off the rally by reaching on a fielding error. Nick Squires moved Otto to second with a single and Cody Gaertner followed with a double, one of his two hits on the game, to bring in Otto for Ohio’s first run.

Jake Madsen wasted no time smacking one into center field to bring home Squires and Gaertner with two outs. Ohio led 3-1 heading into the bottom half of the third. Madsen also finished with two hits.

Jake Miller walked the first batter he faced in the inning. First baseman Cody Campbell then launched a home run over the head of Tyler Wells to tie the game, quickly negating Ohio’s short-lived lead. An RBI single later in the inning allowed the Cardinals to climb back into the lead before the inning’s end.

Third baseman Billy Wellman blasted another home run over the wall on a frozen rope line drive in the fifth to increase Ball State’s lead to 5-3. The teams remained at a practical standstill for the next two innings.

Ohio worked the bases loaded for Tyler Wells with two outs in the top of the eighth. A wild pitch brought in pinch runner Chandler Geller to make the score 5-4. With runners on second and third, Wells watched a third strike speed by him on the outside corner to end the Bobcats’ threat.

Nate Squires and Gaertner both singled to put two men on with only one out for Jake Madsen in the ninth. Madsen whiffed on a ball in the dirt for his third strike and the second out of the inning. Dan Schmidt bounced a grounder to the pitcher the next at-bat and was thrown out to end the game.

Ohio plays Ball State again Saturday in Muncie, Ind., in the second installment of a three-game series on a nine-game road trip.