Baseball has nine-game winning streak snapped in series finale with Ball State

Senior catcher Blake Cleveland of the Central Michigan Men's Baseball Team tags out a Ball State baserunner coming from second base April 7 at Theunissen Stadium.

After winning nine consecutive games for the Central Michigan baseball team, Northern Illinois ended it in a brutal 10-0 victory to avoid a series sweep on April 7 at Theunissen Stadium.

For head coach Jordan Bischel, the reason behind the blowout loss was pretty easy to determine — the Chippewas didn't play the way they are coached to play.

"We obviously didn't play well but taking a step back, Ball State is a really good team and they came out prepared," Bischel said. "You got to give credit where it is due, obviously if you don't play like you are coached you are going to get beat."

What happened

After both teams couldn't find a run in the top of the first inning, the Cardinals got it going to start the second with a sacrifice fly from Mack Murphy. 

In the following inning, John Ricotta hit a two-RBI single to extend the Ball State lead to 3-0. Murphy would follow suit with an RBI single of his own, making it 4-0 BSU.

BSU didn't let its foot off the break, scoring a whopping five runs in the top of the fifth inning to blow the game wide open at 9-0. The rally was capped off by lead-off hitter Aaron Simpson who hit a two-RBI single to left-center field.

Chayce McDermott set the tone for the Cardinals on the mound and earned the win. He slowed down the Chippewas offense that had been hot of recent, scoring 10 runs on 20 hits in the first two games of the three-game set.

The Cardinals redshirt freshman went six innings, allowing no runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.

"We knew (BSU) had three very good pitchers and I thought today was the day where we probably didn't do as good with our hitting approach," Bischel said of the Cardinals' McDermott. "We have to tip the cap, we've been held to under four runs only a couple times this year. Some of that is a credit to their pitcher."

CMU's pitching on the other hand had a hard time finding the strike zone throughout the afternoon. The Cardinals drew a total of eight walks and CMU pitchers countered with just seven strikeouts.

CMU's junior left-handed pitcher Tyler Hankins was given the loss after going just two and two-thirds innings while allowing four runs on three hits and two walks.

Bischel said Hankins usually throws strikes, today he just hit a tough spot.

"I don't think we really mentally challenged ourselves to compete when we hit a rough stretch," Bischel said. "Obviously, it gave them some big innings. You're not going to make a mountain out of a mole hill. You get beat sometimes, but we got to play better than that going forward."

The Chippewas will resume action against in-state foe Oakland at 3 p.m. on April 9 in Rochester.