Ball State Upends Elon Baseball

AIKEN, S.C. – Early missed opportunities were costly for the Elon baseball team on Sunday, Feb. 22, as the Phoenix dropped an 8-3 contest to the Ball State Cardinals at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.

The Phoenix (4-2) stranded 11 total runners on the day.

After Ball State (4-2) scored one in the top of the first, Elon answered with one of its own in the bottom half. Quinn Bower led off the game with an infield single and scored on Kory Shumate’s double to the gap in left-center. With no runners on and two outs, the Phoenix got a single from Joey Tomko ahead of a walk to Nick Zammarelli, but would strand both runners in scoring position.

A two-out error allowed the Cardinals to score two runs in the top of the second to grab a 3-1 advantage. Elon again responded. In the last of the second, Chris King took advantage of a dropped foul ball that extended his at bat by singling. Austin Leeney followed with a single and Andy Moore’s sacrifice bunt put two in scoring position. Bower delivered a run with a ground out, but Leeney would be stranded at third.

The Phoenix looked to threaten in the last of the third. Tomko singled with one away before a two-out single from Ryan Cooper and a hit batter loaded the bases. Unfortunately for the maroon and gold, the next Elon hitter grounded out and Ball State escaped the jam.

Trailing 4-2 in the last of the fifth, Tomko drew a walk to start the frame and raced home on a Zammarelli double to trim Elon’s deficit to 4-3. The Phoenix would eventually strand two in scoring position in the frame.

Ball State opened the game up in the sixth. Caleb Stayton was hit by a pitch to start the inning before back-to-back singles loaded the bases. Following a pitching change, a walk forced home the fifth Cardinal run of the game. A two-RBI double followed before a fourth run would score on a ground out. At the end of the inning, Ball State’s lead had grown to 8-3.

Lucas Bakker (1-1) took the loss for Elon after allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits in five-plus innings.

The win went to Brendan Burns (1-0) who gave up one run on one hit in 5.1 innings out of the Ball State bullpen.

Elon is scheduled to return to the diamond on Tuesday with a 4 p.m. game at High Point.