Ohio (16-24,13-9 Mid-American Conference) fell 5-3 to Ball State (29-15, 16-6 Mid-American Conference) on Friday night in the first of three games between the two this weekend.
The game featured some great pitching from both sides, including a seven-inning start from Dillon Masters, where the lefty allowed only three runs while tallying four strikeouts.
"We competed, we fought. Dillon Masters did an amazing job getting us into the game with seven innings and we had opportunities offensively but I liked how we competed," coach Craig Moore said. "We didn't get the outcome that we wanted but if we can do that the next couple of days I feel good about our chances."
Ohio's offense was able to consistently hit the ball hard despite only tallying five hits and three runs on the day. The offense was led by catcher Mason Minzey who went three-for-four with a home run.
Entering the eighth, the game was tied at three and Ohio's closer Braxton Kelly entered from the bullpen. In the eighth, Ohio surrendered the lead giving up back-to-back hits to start the inning, including an RBI double from Ryan Peltier.
Ball State extended its lead in the same inning by means of a perfect squeeze play, which brought in its second run of the eighth.
Ohio was unable to get anything going on offense after tying the game in the seventh with a Minzey home run.
Kelly escaped the ninth unscathed, but Ohio's offense couldn't come through to tie the game in the ninth.
For many games this year, Ohio's starting pitching has gotten them in trouble, while the offense has usually played well. Tonight, when the pitching stepped up in a big way, the offense couldn't come through against a good Ball State pitching staff.
"It's just the game of baseball, some days all three facets of the game are going in your favor: pitching defense and offense," Moore said. "Offensively it was just one of those days where we faced a good arm, but I still thought we swung the bat well."
Trennor O'Donnell, the Cardinals starter, pitched 5 ⅔ innings while only allowing one earned run.
Adam Tellier had a great day at the plate for the Cardinals with three hits in five at-bats, including a home run.
Ohio currently ranks fifth in the Mid-American Conference with hopes of moving up against Ball State, now in possession of second place in the conference.
The two teams will be back at it for a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2 p.m.