May 23, 2008


Long-Ball State uses three homers to eliminate CMU


By Phil Stanton Co-Founder


CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Maybe they should be named Long-Ball State.


After hitting four out on Wednesday, the fifth-seeded Cardinals used three home runs to account for all their run in a 7-5 win against No. 8 Central Michigan in an elimination game in the 2008 Mid-American Conference Tournament at VA Memorial Stadium.


“We’ve lived and died with the long ball a little bit this year,” said BSU head coach  Greg Beals, “and not by game plan at all. But it’s been that way for us. We’ve got a group of guys that have some power and today we were able to utilize it and get some big hits.”


Kory Benbow had a three-run blast in the bottom of the first, his eighth, to give BSU an early lead. After the Chippewas took a 5-3 lead, Matt Stoeklen smacked a two-run shot in the sixth to tie it and Zach Dygert’s two-run dinger, his 13th, gave the Cardinals a 7-5 advantage. It was the second homer of the tournament for both Stoeklin and Dygert.


“That’s kind of the way our season has gone,” Dygert said. “It’s not real great all the time but today we were able to pull it out. It gives us a lot of momentum going into tomorrow.”


CMU had tied it at 3-3 in the third on a two-run single by Matt Faiman and an RBI base hit by Sean Hoorelbeke. Jeff Helps’ RBI triple in the fourth gave the Chippewas a one-run lead and Faiman’s run-scoring single in the sixth put CMU on top 5-3.


BSU (28-24) will face the loser of the Kent State/Northern Illinois game on Friday at 12:30 p.m. in an elimination contest. The Chippewas finish their season at 29-27-1.


“We feel like this next game is going to be a big game to get to the finals,” Beals said. “You get to that fourth game, that’s an unproven starting pitcher usually and I like our offense in a game like that. We’ve got a big game coming up tomorrow to get in the finals of our four-team tournament and then we’ll see what happens from there with the bats.”


Dygert and the Cardinal hitters will be ready.


“I think consistently offense has been our best part of the game,” Dygert said. “We still have to play better defense and pitch a little bit better, which we are fully capable of doing. I think we have a good shot at the back ends of guys’ rotations.”