The Ball State Cardinals shocked the 22nd-ranked Arizona Wildcats in an extra-inning 8-7 win Saturday night at Hi Corbett Field.
What looked to be a resemblance to opening night in pure pitching performance, quickly transpired to be a late rally for the Cardinals, who beat a ranked team for the first time since 2017.
The game reached a high level of intensity in the ninth inning, when the Wildcats (1-1) loaded the bases all on walks against reliever John Baker with two outs.
Arizona coach Jay Johnson then called for Jacob Blas to attempt a steal of home that backfired, sending the game to extra innings.
Aggressiveness at a wrong time?
In the top of the 11th inning, Ball State’s Ryan Peltier singled then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Zach Lane would draw a walk, then Noah Navarro beat Blas’s throw on a bang-bang play at first. With the bases loaded, Ross Messina went from a quick 0-2 count to a walk that forced in the game winning run for the Cardinals (1-1).
Both teams scored three runs through five innings, but in the bottom half of the sixth, the Wildcats broke through with a three-run home run by their designated hitter Ryan Holgate.
They would add one more run in the seventh on a fielder’s choice. Arizona kept the lead, but in the top half of the eighth inning, the Cardinals found a crack in the Wildcats’ pitching arsenal.
What was supposed to be a routine pop fly ended up being misjudged and dropped on fair territory. That switched the momentum to the Cardinal side. What came after was two base hits, a hit by pitch and a walk followed by a pinch-hit RBI single by Adam Tellier.
The Cardinals brought brought in Baker, who struck out the first five batters he faced before walking the bases loaded leading up to Blas called out at home on the steal attempt.
Baker closed out the ball game earning the win for Ball State.
Game three of the four-game series at Hi Corbett will take place Sunday at 1 p.m.
Click on this to observe the box score of Saturday night’s game.