BASEBALL: Beemer, Piatt breakout against Indiana State
Pair helps Cardinals to big win Tuesday
Quietly, Blake Beemer established himself as Ball State University's everyday right fielder. Now, halfway through the season, he is establishing himself as a force at the top of the lineup.
The freshman went 2-for-4 with three runs in Ball State's 12-5 victory against Indiana State University on Tuesday. He also showed off his Howitzer-like left arm to cut a runner down at third base from right field.
"Blake's a good baseball player," coach Greg Beals said. "One of the things about Blake is he's always ready. He did a great job base running in the first inning; he did a great job on that throw. All the little things of the game, Blake's doing well."
Beemer came to Ball State as a first baseman, but with Ian Nielsen established there, Beemer has had to move to the outfield for playing time.
Beemer has found a role for himself in right field where he has been able to display his range and his arm. A perfect opportunity came up in the second inning Tuesday, when Beemer got his third assist of the year.
"It was a situation all us outfielders wait for," he said. "As soon as the ball was hit to me, I think my eyes lit up a little bit. I was fortunate to make a good throw and [Stephen] Claypool put a good tag on him."
Beemer has proved he can cover lots of ground in the outfield, sometimes interfering with his center fielders.
Sunday, Beemer and Cody Elliott tracked a ball deep into right center and Elliott was forced to slide to avoid a collision as his teammate made the catch.
"He said he couldn't talk, he was running to fast," Elliott said. "I saw him and I knew he was going to get it, so I just tried to slide and get out of his way."
The road back: Brad Piatt was Ball State's starting pitcher on Opening Day at the University of Arkansas, but has fallen a long way since then.
Piatt was bounced from the weekend rotation after two ineffective starts and lately has been subject to mop-up duty.
Tuesday, Piatt (1-3) picked up his first victory of the season in his best start, allowing one run in five innings against the Sycamores.
The senior said he is trying a new approach to as he tries to overcome his early-season struggles.
"Coach mentioned the idea of working backwards and we've been doing that a lot lately," Piatt said. "Throwing off speed in fastball counts and vice versa. It seems to be working out."
Piatt needed 65 pitches to get through five innings, displaying good efficiency. He did not walk anyone, something that has been a problem for him in previous starts.
Mostly, though, Piatt was simply able to avoid the big inning.
"They got their fair share of hits [Tuesday], but he did a good job of keeping them somewhat off balance and giving us a chance to make plays on defense and win the game," Beals said.
Close eye: Plenty of scouts have seen Kolbrin Vitek play this year, but with the draft quickly approaching Major League Baseball teams are starting to pay closer attention to the possible first round draft pick.
The San Diego Padres had a scout at all three of Ball State's games against the University at Buffalo during the weekend, and they were back again Tuesday.
San Diego is believed to be interested in Vitek and possibly moving him to the outfield, where they need good athletes to track down fly balls in the spacious PETCO Park.