BASEBALL: Cardinal wins weekly MAC award
Defense improved at Central Michigan; Vitek has another good start
A big week at the plate netted shortstop T.J. Baumet his first career Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week award Monday.
The junior helped Ball State University take first place in the division with a series victory at Central Michigan University last weekend. Baumet hit .454 and scored 10 runs in five games last week.
Baumet has been hot since returning from a hand injury that caused him to miss two games two weeks ago. The Cardinals' leadoff hitter has a .500 batting average since returning from the injury and has scored 17 runs in 10 games.
Often a problem at Ball State in the past, coach Greg Beals has made defense a priority this year.
After the big series win last weekend, Beals said he felt that side of the ball had turned a corner.
"Defense is something that we've continued to work on," he said. "It hasn't been consistent for us, but we played at a championship level this weekend."
The Cardinals made three errors against the Chippewas, two coming in Friday's 4-3 loss. Ball State also turned five double plays and catcher Zach Dygert threw out a pair of would-be base stealers in Saturday's doubleheader.
After the series finale between Ball State and Central Michigan was moved to Saturday because of a bad forecast for Sunday, Beals elected to use Kolbrin Vitek in game one instead of game two.
Vitek is usually the Cardinals' Sunday starter and in the two previous occasions this year that Ball State has finished a series with a Saturday doubleheader, he has pitched the second game. He played second base in the first game both times, leaving him at less than full strength to pitch.
"I felt like with the doubleheader, it was better for him to go out and pitch instead of playing in the field for nine innings and then trying to pitch," Beals said. "Hopefully that looks like a good decision."
Vitek pitched well in both previous doubleheaders, throwing seven innings of two-hit ball at Ohio University. He also shutout then-No. 7 University of Louisville for four innings, but had to come out after just 53 pitches.
At Central Michigan, Vitek pitched six shutout innings for the victory in game one and went 1-for-4 with an RBI as the designated hitter in game two.
"It was a good change for me," the All-American said. "I had more stamina."