Ball State baseball couldn't avoid the sweep Sunday, losing its final game against Kent State 9-4.
Kent State (15-6, 3-0 MAC) took an early lead when junior catcher Tim DalPorto hit a line drive just past Cardinals junior second baseman Seth Freed, with the ball tailing about a foot away from outstretched glove to knock in two runs.
Ball State (11-13, 0-3 MAC) fell behind 5-0 after freshman right-handed pitcher John Baker (2-1, 2.61 ERA) allowed three more runs in the top of the second inning.
"The truth probably isn't as bad as it seems right now, and probably isn't as good as it seems for them right now," Ball State head coach Rich Maloney said. "The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle."
Junior second baseman Seth Freed was at the plate in the fourth inning with two outs, senior shortstop Sean Kennedy on second base and the rain coming down. Freed pulled the full-count pitch from Golden Flashes sophomore right-handed pitcher Joey Murray (3-0, 2.03 ERA) over the right-field wall for a 2-run home run, his first of the season, to make it 5-2.
Ball State statistics:
L — John Baker (2-1, 2.61 ERA)
Kent State statistics:
W — Joey Murray (3-0, 2.03 ERA)
Freed also tripled in the seventh and finished 2-3 with two runs and two RBIs. He entered the series hitting .227.
"He's a dirtbag kind of player, and I think he got caught where things weren't going so well for him, like of like these other guys where they kind of lost their focus for a little bit," Maloney said. "I think he's got it back now, and some of it's confidence. You've got to have a couple of those things fall your way."
Kent State, however, added two more runs in the top of the fifth to pull ahead 7-2. Ball State scored in the seventh and eighth, but the Golden Flashes added two more in the top of the ninth to reach the 9-4 final score.
Murray limited the Cardinals to just two runs on four hits while striking out 11 in 5.1 innings, recording his third win of the season.
Ball State hosts Butler (16-7, 0-0 Big East) at Ball Diamond in its next game at 3 p.m. Tuesday.