No. 22 Arizona took the fourth game over Ball State 11-5 on Monday to split its first series of the 2021 season at Hi Corbett Field.
It was an offensive morning game (first pitch was at 10 a.m.) as both teams combined for 25 hits.
Arizona’s Jacob Berry went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and a walk. Branden Boissiere went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a triple.
Arizona (2-2) scored three runs in the first two innings by playing small ball.
In the first, Kobe Kato got in scoring position then scored on a successful bunt by shortstop Jacob Blas.
In the second, after Donta’ Williams walked, Arizona coach Jay Johnson called for a hit and run with a 3-2 count on Berry. That was cashed in with a double to the right centerfield gap which scored Williams from first. Berry would later score from third on a sacrifice fly hit by Blas.
In the top half of the third, Ball State scored two runs off of Arizona’s T.J. Nichols.
The Cardinals (2-2) scored two runs on three straight singles and a double hit by Aaron Simpson.
Nichols settled down and was able to retire the side on a double play.
Arizona added a run on the bottom half of the third with an RBI single by Berry, scoring Blake Paugh from second.
A big inning for Arizona in the fourth as the Wildcats scored three runs on a hit-by-pitch followed by back-to-back singles and a triple by Boissiere.
Arizona scored one run in the fifth on a fielder’s choice then one in the sixth on a balk, which forced Ryan Holgate home.
— Arizona Baseball (@ArizonaBaseball) February 22, 2021
Holgate was impressive in the series. He went 1-for-2, with two runs, two RBIs in Monday’s win. He batted .429 in the series with a home run, double and seven RBIs.
After allowing two runs in the third, Nichols struck out three Cardinals. He was replaced by Dawson Netz in the sixth.
Netz was steady until giving up two runs in the eighth.
After back-to-back singles by the Cardinals, Tyler Hinrikus came up big with a line drive up the middle, bringing both runs in. They would add one more on a fielder’s choice.
Arizona added one run in the eighth on a fielder’s choice.
The Cardinals left a runner on base in the ninth as Preston Price stayed calm and got the final out to split the series. He did not allow a run in two innings of relief and had two strikeouts.
Click here to access Monday’s box score.
Arizona will next host Southeastern Louisiana in a four-game series starting Thursday at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field.