Baseball's Ninth Inning Dramatics Beat Northwestern
February 24, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
BALL STATE PRESS
A dramatic ninth inning game-winning single by Alex Maloney through the left side of the infield scored T.J. Weir, who had tripled to score Brandon Estep, and the Ball State baseball team defeated Northwestern 5-4.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 6-2 on the season and ended its stay at the Snow Bird Classic with a 3-1 record.
The ninth inning started with a one-out single by Estep that was followed by a triple to the left center fence by Weir. With a runner on third and one out, Maloney was forced to chase a bad pitch in a suicide squeeze situation and managed to put the bat on the ball and foul it off. On the next pitch, Maloney nailed his game-winning single to give the Cardinals a 3-1 record at the Snow Bird Classic.
Ball State had an opportunity to close the 4-2 gap in the eighth inning when Maloney walked, followed by a Sean Kennedy single which put runners at first and second with no outs. A bloop single by freshman pinch hitter Caleb Stayton scored Maloney to make the score 4-3 and put runners at second and third but the Cardinals’ rally ended there.
After shutting down Northwestern in order in the top of the ninth, Ball State rallied to win the contest and defeat the Big Ten Conference foe.
Ball State fell behind 3-0 after four innings, but rallied for two in the fifth to close the gap to 4-2 before the eighth inning rally. The fifth inning saw Sean Godfrey single and Ryan Spaulding reach on a fielder’s choice with a Northwestern error moving Godfrey to third. With one out and runners on the corner, Brandon Estep single scored Godfrey and a Maloney sacrifice fly gave the Cardinals its first two runs of the contest.
Zach Plesac was credited with the victory and improved to 3-0 on the season after pitching the final 2.2 innings and allowing only three hits, one run and striking out two. Clay Manering started on the mound and went 6.1 innings for the Cardinals.
Maloney completed his day 2-for-3 from the plate with two run-batted-ins and one run scored. Godfrey, Estep and Weir also tallied two hits apiece in the game.
Ball State will continue its season in Lynchburg, Va., Friday through Sunday. The Cardinals are slated to play Rider at noon, followed by a 3 p.m. game with Liberty.