OXFORD, Ohio - On a day which saw two teams combine for 48 runs, Miami and Ball State split a doubleheader Friday in Muncie. The RedHawks came out firing and took care of business in game one, topping the Cardinals 17-6. Ball State answered with a comeback win in game two, winning 13-12 on a walk-off homer.
The biggest story of the day was the Miami offense, which totaled 29 of the aforementioned 48 runs. Specifically, a few of the standouts. The most gleaming is Ross Haffey, who went a combined 7-for-9 on the day with five home runs, eight runs scored, 12 RBI and one double. He also drew two walks. Landon Stephens had a remarkable afternoon as well, going 4-for-10 with five runs scored, three home runs, 6 RBI and one triple. Hayden Senger had quite a day too, recording a 5-for-7 performance with three runs scored, three doubles and three RBI. The Red & White racked up a total of 19 extra base hits in 18 innings of play.
Game 1 Recap - Miami 17, Ball State 6
A modest start to the game had the score at zeroes through the first two innings of play. Miami was the first to breakthrough, doing so in the top of the third. Cal Elvers and Adrian Texidor opened the frame with back-to-back doubles, the latter producing the game's first tally. Following an out, Haffey went the other way and deposited his first home run of the day over the right field wall for a 3-0 Miami lead.
The Cardinals (17-16, 5-6 MAC) answered with a three-run third of their own to even the game at 3-all entering the fourth.
The RedHawks (20-11, 7-4 MAC) pulled in front again in the away half of the fifth. With Haffey standing on first with one out after a single, Stephens walked to give Miami a pair of baserunners. Both were promptly driven in by Hayden Senger on a double to left. The run-scoring two-bagger had the Red & White ahead 5-3. BSU cut the margin in half in the bottom half of the inning, capitalizing on a Miami throwing error.
The `Hawks got on the board again in the sixth. Will Vogelgesang and Elvers reached on a single and a hit by pitch, respectively, and got to third and second on a Cardinal balk. Both were then brought in on a Dallas Hall double to the gap in left. Haffey followed with his second round-tripper of the afternoon, a two-run blast, pushing the Miami advantage to 9-4. Ball State would get a single tally in both the sixth and eighth innings to narrow the deficit to three at 9-6 RedHawks.
Miami put the game to bed with a big ninth inning, striking for eight runs. Haffey drew a leadoff walk but was only on first base a short time as Stephens followed right up with a two-run shot to left. Senger then doubled and scored on a Parker Massman base knock up the middle. After a Mackay Williams infield single, Vogelgesang put down a sac bunt to move he and Massman to second and third, respectively. Elvers then drove them in with a base hit down the right field line. The scoring ended with one final blow. Texidor reached on a hit by pitch, joining Elvers on the base paths. Two batters later, both touched home when Haffey lifted his third home run of the day over the wall in right, cementing a 17-6 series-opening victory.
Miami starting pitcher Spencer Mraz went seven innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits while walking just one and striking out six. He picked up the win, which improved his record to 4-0 on the season. Cole Gnetz tossed the final two innings, giving up no runs and just two hits while fanning one.
Game 2 Recap - Ball State 13, Miami 12
Miami got out to an early and sizable lead in the back half of Friday's twin bill. Hall drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the game and found himself back in the dugout quickly as Haffey sent his fourth homer of day over the fence. Stephens then tripled to deep center and got home on a Senger sac fly. The Cardinals used a solo shot in the bottom half of the opening frame to put the score at 3-1 RedHawks after one.
The same part of the Miami lineup did damage again in the third. After two quick outs, Stephens went yard for the second time Friday, making it 4-1. Senger then singled, stole second and scored on a Massman double down the line in right. The Red & White's four-run lead lasted just a short time due to a three-run homer in the home half of the inning by the Cardinals. The score stood at 5-4 Miami through three.
The RedHawks fired right back with a big fourth. Elvers and Hall each got on via a hit by pitch. Haffey then ripped a double to left, scoring Elvers. Stephens cleared the bases with a three-run bomb, his third of the day, to put the MU lead at 9-4.
Ball State got a single tally in the fifth thanks to a solo shot to right center. However, the RedHawks answered in the away half of the sixth when Hall led off with a hit by pitch and Haffey went deep for the fifth and final time Friday, a two-run blast.
Just when it seemed Miami might be running away again, Ball State stole all of the momentum with a seven-run bottom of the sixth to grab a 12-11 lead.
No one would score again until the ninth. Still in need of a run, the RedHawks rallied their way back to tie it with their backs against the wall. Senger drew a one-out walk and Massman was struck by a pitch to put two on. Following the second out, Vogelgesang reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Elvers then drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in the tying run. A strikeout kept Miami from taking the lead as they stranded three. In the bottom of the ninth, the `Hawks got a strikeout to start the inning but a walk-off solo shot sealed a doubleheader split on the opening day of action.
The teams get back on the diamond Saturday at 1 p.m. for the rubber match.