Redbirds Drop First of Three at the Metrodome 9-2
March 10, 2006
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Friday was the start of spring break for the Illinois State baseball team, but it was not much fun as the Redbirds dropped their first game of their spring break trip to the Ball State Cardinals 9-2 at the Metrodome Classic in Minneapolis, Minn. ISU (1-8) could only scrounge up two runs against the BSU (4-7) pitchers in the first of three games at the Metrodome over the weekend.
Freshman Ian Berger (1-2) earned the loss for the Redbirds after giving up eight earned runs on nine hits in five innings of work. Dan Frega pitched strong in relief of Berger, however, giving up just four hits and one run in four innings. Ball State starter Ben Snyder earned the win after giving up just one run on four hits and striking out eight batters in six innings.
Ball State jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning. After the Cardinals loaded the bases, Chris Pestle tripled to deep right-center field and put BSU up 3-0. A Matt Gard single later in the inning scored Pestle from third base to bring the lead to 4-0.
After a scoreless bottom half of the second inning and a scoreless third inning, Ball State tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth inning. Leadoff hitter Mike Sullivan doubled to score Mike Ayala for the first run of the inning and Justin Rogers' sacrifice fly later in the inning scored Gard from third base to bring the lead to 6-0.
However, ISU would get its first run of the day in the bottom half of the third inning off the bat of Kyle O'Brien. The junior first baseman launched a 341-foot home run over the right field wall to bring the score to 6-1. The home run was O'Brien's second of the season and his eighth RBI.
BSU would add two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth to bring the score to 8-1 and added one final run in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 9-1. But, the Redbirds would not go away as they scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning on a Jay Molina double to left-center field that scored Blake Schoonover from first base to bring the score to its final of 9-2.
Molina finished the day with three hits and an RBI for ISU, while Schoonover chipped in two hits and scored a run. Gard paced BSU with three hits and three RBI, with Sullivan and Rogers each adding two hits.
The Redbirds play their second game of the Metrodome Classic Saturday at 1:00 p.m. against the Vermont Catamounts. Freshman Jim Sajewich (0-0) will make his third start of the season on Saturday and will look to improve on his team-low 1.64 ERA.