AKRON, Ohio – Eight strong innings from John Baker and a couple big innings were all the Ball State baseball team needed to win 7-3 on Friday at Akron. BSU is now 7-2 in league play and, as of Friday evening, just one game out of first place.

TOP HALF BRINGS THE BATS: Ball State’s 1-5 hitters combined for seven hits and six runs. Adam Tellier and Ryan Peltier each had two hits and Nick Powell and Aaron Simpson each scored two runs. Ross Messina pulled an RBI double in the 3rd inning and also drove in a run with a fielder’s choice.

In the bottom half of the order, Decker Scheffler came off the bench to add a 2-run double late in the game. Trenton Quartermaine opened the scoring with an RBI single in the 2nd.

SIMPSON GOES DEEP: The game was 4-2 in the 9th when Simpson led off the inning with a homer to right-center. The senior centerfielder has a nine-game hitting streak where he’s hitting 10-for-28. Scheffler’s hit later in the 9th effectively put the game away. “I was just thinking fastball,” Simpson said about his second home run of the year. “I got one over the plate and hit a good line drive to right-center field. We needed an insurance run, so it was a bit at bat.”

GREAT EIGHT FROM BAKER: Baker (3-1) was his usual ace self, working 8.0 innings and striking out eight. Akron (9-13, 3-10 MAC) scratched a run across in the 3rd and got a solo homer in the 6th. The 6-9 hitters in Akron’s lineup combined to go 1-for-16. Mac Ayres and Andre Orselli combined to finish the bottom of the 9th.

STRIKEOUT RECORD COMING: Baker owns 348 career strikeouts at Ball State, more than any active pitcher in NCAA Division I. He is within nine strikeouts of the school record, held by Bryan Bullington (2000-02).

REST OF THE WEEKEND: Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 11 a.m. Chayce McDermott will pitch the first game, with Lukas Jaksich scheduled to work the nightcap. Sunday’s game is scheduled for noon.