AKRON, Ohio – Behind a dominant performance from starter Andrew Brown, Akron baseball opened up its 2012 Mid-American Conference season with a 4-0 win over Ball State on Friday at Canal Park.
Brown went the distance, allowing three hits, striking out seven and walking just one. It was the sixth complete game in Brown's career and his second career shutout. The senior ace has now won his last three starts and allowed just one earned run in his last 23.0 innings.
Starter Cal Bowling took the loss for Ball State (3-13, 0-1). Bowling gave up four runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Back-to-back hits to start the fourth inning led to an Akron 1-0 lead. Trecaso reached on a bloop single and moved to third on Kurt Gamby's double down the left field line. After Bowling struck out Brady Stewart, Trecaso scored on an RBI groundout by Brandon Winter.
Four straight base knocks – including triples by Begun and Trecaso – produced three Akron runs in the bottom of the fifth. Devan Ahart started the rally with a single to right and came all the way around on Begun's triple to the gap in left center. After Sam Watkins singled to drive in Begun, Trecaso hit his first triple of the season to score Watkins and give the Zips a 4-0 lead.
The lead was more than enough for Brown, who largely cruised from start to finish, and needed just 110 pitches to complete the blanking. The Cardinals only threatening moment came in the sixth when they had runners on first and second with two outs. Brown was up for the challenge, inducing a fielder's choice from clean-up hitter TJ Weir to exit the inning.
Akron and Ball State continue the weekend series Saturday at Canal Park, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. Admission is free.
Zips Notebook: Andrew Brown surpassed Mike Birkbeck for eighth on the Akron career strikeouts list. Brown now has 213 strikeouts in his career.