Record-Courier Staff Report
MUNCIE, Ind. - Kent State (30-18, 14-8) fell to Ball State (33-16, 17-4) in a slugfest Friday afternoon at Ball Diamond, giving up five home runs and allowing the Cardinals to power their way to a 16-5 victory in the series opener.
Zarley Zalewski ripped the first home run of the night in the top of the first inning for the Flashes, bring leadoff hitter Jon Wilson across home plate. Wilson got on base as a result of a single. Zalewski's blast put Kent State ahead 2-0.
Ball State responded in the bottom of the inning to lead 3-2 by its conclusion, doubling Kent State's production behind the plate with two homeruns.
Alex Call smashed a leadoff homer for the Cardinals to start their first at bat and, following a walk, Sean Godfrey hit a two-run shot.
Three and a half scoreless innings passed before the Cardinals got their bats moving again in the bottom of the fifth. Alex Maloney extended their lead to 6-2, blasting his fourth three-run homerun of the season.
Justin Wagler answered the shot with a leadoff double in the top of the sixth. T.J. Sutton brought Wagler home on a base hit to center field.
However, Ball State continued its offensive dominance in the bottom of the sixth, coming out of the inning with a 10-3 lead.
Kyle Raleight highlighted the four-run innning with a three-run home run.
His effort behind the plate was only bested by teammate Ryan Spaulding's eighth inning grand slam that extended Ball State's to a 16-5 advantage.
Kent State's final two runs separated the Ball State blasts in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Wagler and a RBI single by Cody Koch.
Wilson finished the day 3-for-5 in the leadoff spot. Zalewski led the team with two RBI.
Eric Lauer dropped to 7-3 on the year with the loss. He went 4 1/3 innings in the start with five hits, five runs, four walks and three strikeouts. Dan Kopcak, Tim Faix and John Fasola all allowed at least two hits and two runs in relief.
Ball State tallied 14 hits and committed zero errors in the victory. Kent State scored its five runs on eight hits.
Spaulding ended his day on a 2-for-4 performance from the plate with five runs-batted-in and two runs scored. Call was 3-for-5 in the game with one RBI and two runs scored. Godfrey was 2-for-6 in the game with two RBI and two runs scored.
The Cardinals entered the game with a 2.5 game lead in the MAC West Division and a 3.5 game lead over East Division leader Kent State for the overall No. 1 seed at the MAC Tournament.
With five games remaining in the season, the Cardinals will host the Flashes in pivotal games Saturday and Sunday.
The two teams return to action in a 1 p.m. game on Saturday.