MUNCIE, Ind. - The Miami baseball team earned its fourth-straight Mid-American Conference series win as it held on to beat Ball State, 6-5, on Sunday in the series finale at Ball Diamond.
The RedHawks, who improved to 21-11 (8-4 MAC), did something they haven't done in quite some time with Sunday's victory. It marks the first time since 2005 that Miami has opened conference play with four consecutive series wins. That team went on to win the MAC regular season and tournament championships, earning an NCAA berth.
The RedHawks got off to a quick start behind the red-hot hand of Ross Haffey, who lifted a solo shot to right in the top of the first, his sixth home run of the series. However, the Cardinals came right back with a round-tripper of their own, a three-run blast, to own a 3-1 lead after one.
Miami quickly got its lead back though as Parker Massman led off the second with a single and was driven in on a Mackay Williams double down the left field line. Will Vogelgesang then went yard for the first time in his collegiate career, a two-run shot, to thrust the Red & White in front, 4-3, through one and a half.
The back-and-forth affair continued when Ball State pulled back in front in the home half of the fourth. The Cardinals scored twice on a fielder's choice and an RBI single, grabbing a 5-4 lead.
Miami was able to knot it up in the top of the sixth. Vogelgesang ripped a two-out double down the right field line and Cristian Tejada came on to pinch run for him. A Cal Elvers flyout to right allowed Tejada to tag and reach third before an Adrian Texidor infield single brought him in to make it 5-5.
The RedHawks got in front for good in the seventh when Landon Stephens launched his fourth homer of the weekend over the left field wall, a solo shot.
Shane Smith took the mound for Miami in the ninth. The Cardinals got two on in the inning but he held strong and got a lineout to end the contest, earning his second save of 2018. Cole Gnetz and Jack Corbell also appeared in relief for the `Hawks. Gnetz was the first out of the pen. He went 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six. Corbell went two full innings, also scoreless, and recorded one strikeout while allowing no hits. He also picked up the win to improve to 2-1 on the season. Gus Graham got the start for MU, going 3.1 innings and allowing five runs on four hits while walking five and striking out two.
The RedHawks are back on the field Tuesday at Ohio State for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.