With two on and two out in the top of the fourth inning, redshirt senior Kevin Marnon stared down the batter with Ball State baseball and Ohio in a scoreless tie.
Marnon was ahead of Bobcats junior right fielder Tony Giannini 1-2, but Giannini wouldn't go away — he fouled off eight pitches to work a 14-pitch walk to load the bases.
Sophomore centerfielder Devon Garcia hit an RBI single in the next at-bat to give Ohio the 1-0 lead. Ball State escaped the inning without allowing any more runs, but the Cardinals (11-17, 0-6 MAC) were shut out 10-0 as the Bobcats (14-12, 3-0 MAC) completed the series sweep.
"It's definitely an exciting moment," Marnon said. "If I would've gotten that out I would've been pumped."
Ball State's offense couldn't get anything going against Ohio starting right-handed pitcher Michael Klein (3-1, 1.65 ERA), a redshirt junior. Klein was credited with the win after striking out nine in eight scoreless innings. He allowed just four hits — all singles — and four walks.
Ball State statistics
L — Kevin Marnon (2-4, 4.08 ERA)
W — Michael Klein (3-1, 1.65 ERA)
Marnon (2-4, 4.08 ERA) was pulled after giving up a two-run home run to Bobcats senior second baseman Ty Black in the top of the fifth. Marnon finished with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings, allowing three runs, all earned, with five hits and three walks.
"I think their guy did a phenomenal job, and I thought Marnon throwing strikes did a phenomenal job," head coach Rich Maloney said. "We just weren't able to finish them off, and Marnon competed with all of his heart."
Senior first baseman Caleb Statyon and senior outfielder Matt Eppers were the only two Cardinals to reach base multiple times in the game. Stayton finished 1-2 with two walks, while Eppers finished 1-2 with one walk.
Sophomore outfielder Roman Baisa was also held hitless, ending a 10-game hitting streak.
"We've got to have better at-bats, that's for certain," Maloney said. "But at the same time, it's like every single thing [goes wrong]."
Ball State has now lost its last eight games, the team's longest losing streak since dropping 10 consecutive games from April 27 to May 13, 2012. The Cardinals also hadn't been swept by the Bobcats in Muncie since 1996.
The Cardinals travel to Bloomington for their next game Tuesday, when they take on Indiana at 6:05 p.m.