Ball State baseball relied on strong bats last season, but small ball helped it beat Alabama State 3-2 Saturday.
Senior centerfielder Matt Eppers stepped up to the plate in the top of the third inning with sophomore catcher Trent Theisen standing on first and the Cardinals (2-0) trailing 1-0.
Eppers, batting ninth, ripped the first pitch of the at-bat to left-center field and hustled around the bases for his first triple of the year and the Cardinals' only extra-base hit of the game.
Sophomore left fielder Roman Biasa followed with an RBI sacrifice bunt to give Ball State the 2-1 lead.
Redshirt senior left-handed pitcher Kevin Marnon was credited with the win after limiting Alabama State (0-2) to one run in five innings, while also striking out six. He was relieved by redshirt sophomore T.J. Baker in the sixth.
Ball State hitting: 7-33, 3 runs scored
Alabama State hitting: 9-35, 2 runs scored
W: Kevin Marnon (1-0)
L: Brandon Caples (0-1)
S: David Current (1)
Pitching two innings in his collegiate debut, Baker walked two, struck out four and allowed two hits without allowing a run.
Senior right-handed pitcher David Current got the two-inning save, but allowed an earned run in the bottom of the ninth.
Hornets senior righty Brandon Caples was credited with the loss, allowing three earned runs in seven innings.
Originally scheduled for 2 p.m., rain pushed first pitch back to 3:30 p.m.
Ball State takes on No. 6 Louisville 1 p.m. Sunday in Clearwater, Florida.