BASEBALL: Cardinals' offense falters after early weekend runs
Ball State unable to adjust to Illinois, falls 10-3 Sunday
It looked like Ball State University's offense was ready to come into its own.
Ball State scored 22 runs in their first two games of the weekend against the University of Michigan and Lipscomb University, including a nine-run sixth inning that propelled Ball State to victory against Lipscomb. But Ball State (5-11) sputtered Sunday, scoring just three runs in a loss to the University of Illinois.
"Our offense did so show some signs of starting to get going this week," coach Greg Beals said. "[Sunday] was extremely disappointing from an offensive standpoint. It bothered me because I thought we were showing signs of turning a corner offensively, but [Sunday] we didn't show up."
The Illini scored the first seven runs against the Cardinals and coasted to a 10-3 victory. All-American Kolbrin Vitek was disappointed Ball State wasn't able to carry their momentum from Saturday's comeback win into Sunday.
"We finally started getting some hits together," he said. "It was good to beat someone up like that, instead of being down the whole game. It was good to feel that."
Vitek (0-2) kept the Cardinals in the game early against the Illini, allowing one run in the first four innings. But he faltered in the fifth, and Illinois broke the game open with six runs.
"I ran out of gas in fifth inning," Vitek said. "After nine days of playing in field and pitching once already this week, I ran out of gas and lost velocity. I should have been done after four innings, maybe."
Vitek led the Cardinals offensively, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. During break, the junior hit .400 and drove in 10 runs.
Beals said Ball State should have been able to put together a better day at the plate Sunday. Of its six hits, only one went for extra bases.
"Give their guy credit, he pitched the ball inside and tied us up a lot," Beals said. "We didn't make any adjustments on it. We need to do a better job making adjustments."
There were positives at the plate for Ball State throughout its nine-game trip. Freshman Blake Beemer went 6-for-16 during break and scored three runs. Beals also praised the play of center fielder Wes Winkle and second baseman Mitch Widau.
"We had some freshmen that played good weeks," Beals said. "If you look through the box scores, you see some unfamiliar names."