Eastern Michigan’s Baseball team defeated Ball State in walk-off fashion on Saturday, April 7th. The game took place at Oestrike Stadium and was the second game of a three game series with Ball State. EMU won off the bat of Jared Kauffman who hit a single to center in the bottom of ninth inning to secure an Eagles victory by the final score of 6-5. The win puts the Eagles at 10-17 on the season overall and 5-3 in-conference.
Early season baseball in Michigan is a much different beast than what EMU became used to while traveling down south in the early stages of the season. The sun was out to start the game on Saturday but the temperature never creeped out of the 30s. Despite the cold weather EMU’s offense got off to a hot start in the first inning. Designated Hitter John Rensel Jr. hit a single through the right side of the infield that scored Third Baseman Zachary Owings giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Scoring ceased until the fourth inning when Ball State scored two runs on a base hit to center field. EMU responded in the home half of the fourth with a run of their own, this time off the bat of ShortStop Max Schuemann. In the fifth the Eagles would score again, this time thanks to a throwing error committed by Ball State that plated First Baseman Kolton Schenker. This run made the score 3-2 in favor of EMU heading into the 6th inning.
No teams would score again until the 8th inning. Ball State scored two unearned runs in the inning. One being on an error by Center Fielder Luke Devenney. The second run came on a sacrifice fly to left field. Schuemann snagged his second RBI of the game in the 8th inning when he doubled down the right field line, scoring Catcher Eli Gora for the second time. EMU and Ball State found themselves knotted up at four runs a piece heading into the ninth inning.
In the ninth, Ball State managed to score a run with two outs on a single that snuck through the right side of the infield. Relief Pitcher Mitchell Sparks came in following the run to record the final out and give EMU one last chance to take the lead. EMU loaded the bases in the ninth before scoring their first run. Gora was hit by a pitch which advanced each runner, scoring Left Fielder Jeff Timko in the process. With the game tied and the bases loaded Kauffman came to the plate with an opportunity to secure a victory for EMU. With a 2-1 count, Kauffman hit a line drive to center field that scored Schenker for the second time giving EMU their 10th win on the season.