MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ohio baseball team (13-12, 2-0 MAC) swept a Saturday (April 1) doubleheader from Mid-American Conference West Division foe Ball State (11-16, 0-5 MAC) on Saturday (April 1) at Ball Diamond, posting victories of 6-4 and 7-4.
The Bobcats open MAC play 2-0 for the first time since 2008 and took a series from the Cardinals for the first time since 2012. Ohio won a series in Muncie for the first time since 2007.
Game 1 -- Ohio 6, Ball State 4
Senior right fielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored another while redshirt junior designated hitter Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) finished 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Senior catcher Anthony Mrosla (Coon Rapids, Minn.) also produced a multi-hit effort for the Bobcats, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Ibarra set the tone by leading the game off with a double to right and scoring one out later by way of a double to left center by Klein. Klein made it a 2-0 lead Ohio in the top of the first inning when he scored on a two-out single to right by senior shortstop Tyler Finkler (Olmsted Falls, Ohio).
The Bobcats' lead swelled to 3-0 in the fifth when Mrosla sent a one-out single to left, then scored one out later on a double to right by Ibarra.
Ball State mounted a rally in the home half of both the fifth and sixth innings to take a 4-3 lead over Ohio. Junior designated hitter Colin Brockhouse led off with fifth with a home run to right to make it a two-run game. The Cardinals then plated three runs on two hits and an Ohio error in the sixth to take the lead.
Ohio grabbed the lead back in the eighth, though, with three runs on three hits and a Ball State error. Mrosla led off with a base hit back up the middle, then was lifted for senior pinch runner Mateus Vakuda (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Vakuda advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio), and Ibarra followed by drawing an intentional walk. Vakuda scored the tying run on a base hit through the right side by sophomore first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.). Ibarra made it a 5-4 lead for the Bobcats when he scored single through the left side by Klein. Rott scored Ohio's sixth run when senior second baseman Ty Black (Waynesville, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second via a Ball State miscue.
Redshirt junior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) gave Ohio another solid outing out of the bullpen, striking out four over three innings and giving up one unearned run on one hit. He earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the year. Redshirt junior right-handed closer Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) picked up his fifth save of the season and 12th of his career, tossing a scoreless ninth. He gave up one hit. Roehn's 12 career saves are tied for third most in program history. Redshirt southpaw starting pitcher Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) struck out five in five innings of work. He allowed three runs -- two of which were earned -- on four hits and three walks.
Senior right-handed starting pitcher BJ Butler gave Ball State a complete game but suffered the loss to drop to 2-4. He struck out four but surrendered six runs -- five of which were earned -- on eight hits and a walk.
Brockhouse finished 2-for-3 with a home run to lead the Cardinals at the plate. Senior third baseman Alex Maloney went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while redshirt sophomore left fielder Roman Baisa finished 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Game 2 -- Ohio 7, Ball State 4
The Bobcats battled back from an early 4-0 deficit to secure the weekend series win over the Cardinals.
Ball State landed the first punch in the bottom of the first when senior third baseman/shortstop Sean Kennedy hit a one-out double to left center, then scored on a two-out base hit to left by senior first baseman Caleb Stayton. The Cardinals tacked on three more runs in the ensuing frame, with an RBI single by redshirt sophomore catcher Griffin Hulecki highlighting the inning.
Ohio began its comeback by tallying runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Finkler drew a two-out walk and later scored on an RBI single to center by senior third baseman Connor Callery (Covington, Ky.), cutting the Bobcats' deficit to three runs in the fourth. Ohio made it a two-run game in the fifth as Ibarra led off with a single to right and scored one out later on a base hit to center by Black.
The Bobcats overtook the Cardinals with a big five-run sixth inning that saw Ohio bat around. Finkler led off with a single through the left side. Junior right fielder Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) was hit by a pitch. Callery drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Ibarra coaxed a walk one out later to push Finkler across and make it a one-run game. Rott drew a walk to plate Giannini and tie the game. One out later, Black delivered a two-out, two RBI double to score Callery and Ibarra and make it a 6-4 lead in favor of Ohio. Redshirt junior catcher Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) drove in the final insurance run for the Bobcats with a single through the left side that brought home Rott.
Black led Ohio's bats with a 2-for-4 effort that included a double, a walk and three RBIs. Callery finished 2-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Bredeson collected two singles and drove in a run.
Junior left-handed starting pitcher Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) kept his perfect record intact, improving to 4-0 on the mound. He fanned three while allowing four runs -- three of them earned -- on six hits and a walk. Senior righty Tom Colletti (Wheaton, Ill.) tossed two scoreless innings of relief, striking out one while permitting a hit and a walk. Senior right-hander Jake Rudnicki (Toledo, Ohio) picked up his first career save, striking out two while allowing two hits and two walks over two innings.
Stayton went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Ball State while Kennedy finished 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.
Redshirt sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Evan Marquardt was tagged with the loss on the mound for the Cardinals, falling to 2-4 on the year. He surrendered five earned runs on eight hits and two walks. He finished with six strikeouts.
Ohio goes for the series sweep to open MAC play when it takes on Ball State in the Sunday (April 2) finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET at Ball Diamond. Klein is scheduled to start on the bump for the Bobcats and oppose redshirt senior southpaw Kevin Marnon of the Cardinals. 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein will have the call on WOUB 1340 AM and online on OhioBobcats.com via Stretch Internet.