BASEBALL: Focus shifts to the details for Ball State
Cardinals want to improve defense before MAC play
With the most arduous part of Ball State University's schedule behind it, coach Greg Beals wants to turn the focus to doing the little things better.
The Cardinals are 5-11, though have played tough competition in the first month of the season. Over Spring Break they played nine games in 10 days, including a pair of 3-2 losses at No. 12 Coastal Carolina University and lost 7-4 to the College of Charleston, a likely NCAA Tournament team.
But Beals and the rest of the team want to turn the narrow defeats into victories, like the 5-2 upset of No. 14 University of Arkansas on the first weekend of the season.
"We showed signs of playing good baseball against Coastal Carolina," Beals said. "We played solid. Unfortunately we didn't find a way to win. We're playing tough competition, but we're good enough to be competitive. We need to find ways to win."
The Cardinals have four games against more quality competition before the Mid-American Conference season begins March 26. Ball State will travel to No. 10 University of Louisville this weekend for a three-game series and visit the University of Notre Dame next Tuesday before attempting to live up to their billing as MAC favorites.
Second baseman Kolbrin Vitek said the Cardinals must improve their defense to achieve their goals.
"Our defense is the biggest thing, making plays every chance you get," the All-American said.
Ball State has committed 27 errors this year, leading to 21 unearned runs. Some of the errors have been very costly, especially in losses to Coastal Carolina and the University of Michigan. The Cardinals didn't allow an earned run to the Chanticleers all game on March 7, but still lost 3-2. Ball State made five errors in that loss.
Against the Wolverines, the Cardinals tied the game at eight in the top of the sixth inning, only to commit two errors in the bottom of the inning and give up four runs. Ball State went on to lose 12-8 Friday.
"We need to pay attention to detail a little better," Beals said. "When we're doing all the little things well, I think we'll be OK."
Vitek said the team played well in all aspects of the game throughout Spring Break, but needs to be putting together complete games by the time MAC games begin.
"Now we need to bring everything together and get the kinks worked out," Vitek said. "We need to get all the little things worked out."