The Rockets hung tough with the MAC favorite Ball State University Cardinals, but in the end did not have enough fire power to take the series.
Game One saw the Toledo Rockets (13-20, 5-7 MAC) steamroll the Ball State University Cardinals (24-12, 9-2 MAC) but unfortunately for the Rockets it would be the only game they took in the series. The Rockets knocked the ball around for a season high eight extra base hits ( five double, three home runs) against the Cardinals. This game took many by surprise as the Rockets looked poised to get back above .500 in conference play.
Rockets starter Ryan Wilkinson (3-3) was effective enough to get the win allowing four runs, on ten hits, while striking out two to pick up his second consecutive win.
Cardinals starter Scott Baker (5-3) could not ever get into a comfort zone allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, one walk, and one strikeout in just 2.1 innings pitched.
The Rockets were lead by Dan Zuchowski (3-for-4), and Tyler Baar (2-for-5) who each hit for a home run, and a double a piece. Zuchowski also had a team high four runs batted in. Jacob North( 2 for 3) and Tyler Grogg( 2 for 5) also picked up a couple of hits each in the game
The Cardinals threatened early and often but with ground ball double plays in both the 1st and 2nd innings of the game, it seemed to suck the life out of Ball State and swing the momentum in favor of Toledo.
The Cardinals leaders were Sean Godfrey (2-for-5) and TJ Weir (1-for-3) who each had a pair of runs batted in.
Game Two would showcase the Cardinals bats, as the Rockets were blown away by offense. Holy Toledo the Cardinals posted 15 runs just one day after defending their home turn the Rockets forgot they were playing the best team in the conference. The Cardinals pounded out 13 hits, and produced 15 runs to take an easy game two victory at Scott Park.
Cardinals starter TJ Weir (4-1) pitched an impressive game going eight innings allowing seven hits, four earned runs, one walk, and eight strikeouts.
Rockets starter Sam Schutes wasn't awful but left to many pitches over the plate which finally hurt him. His final stat line consisted of 6.2 innings pitched, seven runs (six earned) on seven hits, five walks, and nine strikeouts. Schutes was able to get swings for misses, but when he hung pitches over the plate Ball State took advantage.
Ryan Spaulding, Kyle Raleigh (3-for-4), and Sam Tidabeck (1-for-4) each hit home runs for the Cardinals. Spaulding, and Tidabeck had four, and three rbi respectively.
The Rockets were shut out through the first six innings before finally plating a run in the seventh. Dan Zuchowski provided the only spark Toledo would see all game with a three run double in the eighth. To much damage had already been done for it to matter, but the Rockets would still have an opportunity to take the series in game three.
Zach Plesac (7-2) lead the Cardinals to a series clinching win on Sunday afternoon. Plesac tossed a complete game allowing four earned runs, and striking out seven.
Rockets Freshman Stephen Calhoun (1-2) took the loss. Calhoun went five innings allowing six runs ( five earned) on six hits, three walks and six strikeouts.
Four Cardinals collected two hits a piece. Ryan Spaulding ( 2 for 3), Jarett Rindfleisch (2-for-2), Sean Kennedy (2-for-2), and TJ Weir (2-for-3) each recorded multi hit games. Caleb Stayton hit a two-run home run in his only official at bat of the game.
The Rockets received multiple hits from Dan Zuchowski (2-for-5), and Tyler Baar (3-for-4).
Ball State continues to prove that they are the head of the MAC, but a showdown with the Central Michigan Chipewas lies less than two weeks away. That series could determine the leader of the MAC and play a significant role in playoff seeding.
The Cardinals will square off with the Western Michigan Broncos next weekend, while the Rockets once again look to get back on track with a home series against the Ohio Bobcats.