BASEBALL: Cards ink 7 recruits
Concerns about losing two junior starters in his infield to the MLB Draft in June led coach Greg Beals to focus on adding depth in his 2010 recruiting class.
Beals said that in addition to All-Mid-American Conference second baseman Kolbrin Vitek, who is likely to be a high-round pick, shortstop T.J. Baumet could also be lost to the draft.
"We had two things we needed to accomplish with this recruiting class," Beals said. "Like every year, we needed a couple pitchers and beside that I felt like we needed a few infielders to improve depth and quality. We have concerns about Vitek and Baumet in the draft, about them not being back. We put a greater emphasis on the infield."
Of the seven-member class, three are listed as infielders. Beals is excited to get third baseman Kenny Mahala into the middle of the Ball State University lineup.
"Kenny is a left-handed hitter who can hit for some power," Beals said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on him, but I think he can be in the [Ian] Nielsen mold and hit right away as a freshman."
Nielsen was a Freshman All-American after hitting .352 with 53 RBIs.
Ball State also added three right-handed pitchers, but Beals said only two will exclusively pitch. Jacob Brewer and Tyler Jordan will join the Cardinals' staff and T.J. Weir will pitch and play in the infield.
"I believe he'll do both," Beals said. "There will probably be a slightly greater emphasis on being a position player, but he has a great curveball. He can have success on the mound."
Of the seven recruits, three played summer ball for the Indiana Bulls. Beals said that familiarty is good for the program.
"That's as high a level as you can play at 17 in the country," he said. "They played together and know each other. They're excited about being teammates in the future."
There is also a local element to the class. Six of the seven recruits are from Indiana, and outfielder Cody Campbell is from Muncie. Campbell attended Cowan High School and will join his brother Kirby in the Ball State outfield next year.
"Cody can really play," Beals said. "They're very talented. We could have two Campbells roaming the outfield next year."
Beals said the recruiting class isn't finished yet. There is still one scholarship avaliable for the 2010 class.
"We're still looking a little bit," Beals said. "We have one scholarship open and two spots overall. It's never done. We're not done with this class and we're eager to get started on the 2011 graduates also."