With the loss in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, Louisville (17-2) ended its 17-game regular season home winning streak at Jim Patterson Stadium, which dated back to last season, and fell to 12-1 at home this season, while Ball State improved to 6-13 on the season. The series finale was originally scheduled for Sunday, but was moved to Saturday due to inclement weather forecasts for the rest of the weekend.
Sophomore infielder Ryan Wright (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead HS) led the way on a tough day for the Louisville offense going 3-for-4 with one RBI. Combined with his 4-for-5 performance in Louisville's 8-3 win in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, Wright lifted his season average to a team-leading .405 overall. He is also second on the team with 25 RBI. Freshman Kyle Grieshaber (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) finished Saturday's series finale with a 3-for-5 performance as U of L was out-hit 12-7 by Ball State.
Ball State opened the scoring with a pair of runs on four hits off Louisville starter Tony Zych (Monee, Ill./St. Rita HS) in the second inning. The scoring started on an RBI single up the middle by third baseman Tim Issler to score left fielder Kory Benbow for a 1-0 lead. Second baseman Mitch Widau followed with an RBI single to center to score first baseman Ian Nielsen for a 2-0 Ball State advantage.
An inning later, Ball State pushed its lead to 3-0 as starting pitcher Kolbrin Vitek doubled to right center, moved to third on a fielder's choice and then scored on a run down of right fielder Blake Beemer between first and second.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Ball State increased its lead to 4-0 in the fifth as Vitek scored on an RBI double to right field by catcher Zach Dygert. The fifth inning was the last for Zych, who allowed four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts in his 5.0 innings of work to fall to 1-1 with the loss.
Louisville scored its only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth as junior Drew Haynes (New Albany, Ind./New Albany HS) earned a leadoff walk from righty reliever Perci Garner, moved to second with his team-leading seventh stolen base of the season, advanced to third on an errant throw by Dygert behind the plate and then scored on an RBI single up the middle by Wright to cut the BSU lead to 4-1. However, that was as close as Louisville would get as Ball State added a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Beemer and the BSU bullpen recorded the final nine outs for the final 5-1 advantage.
Up next, Louisville will take to the road for a mid-week game at Evansville on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. On March 3, U of L earned a 13-6 win over the Purple Aces at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals are scheduled to return home to open BIG EAST Conference play for a three-game weekend series against Connecticut on March 26-28.