BASEBALL: Defense lets down Ball State at Purdue
Cardinals lose fourth game to a Big Ten opponent
In Ball State University's fourth loss to a Big Ten team this season, its defense was to blame.
Ball State lost 10-5 at Purdue University on Tuesday despite allowing just two earned runs. The Cardinals (13-18) committed three errors, two coming in the Boilermakers' seven-run fourth inning.
"We've got to make sure we're focused and in more of a ready state of mind on defense," coach Greg Beals said. "Some of our errors are mental lapses."
Reliever Seth Hobbs (2-1) took the loss after allowing the seven-run inning. Boilermaker starter Pat Gannon (3-1) picked up the victory.
Ball State is 0-4 against the Big Ten this year and has made eight errors in the games.
Defense has been a sore point before this year and the Cardinals rank in the middle of the Mid-American Conference with a .958 fielding percentage.
Shortstop T.J. Baumet, who made his 16th error of the year Tuesday, said Ball State needs to make the easy plays.
"We need to make the routine plays," he said. "If we make amazing plays that's just extra."
Beals said Purdue made the routine plays against Ball State but also flashed enough leather to make the difference.
"They made all the plays on defense, especially at the shortstop position," Beals said. "The difference in today's game was defense."
The game was Baumet's first after missing the final two games of the weekend at Bowling Green State University. The junior was hit in the hand by a pitch in Friday's victory.
Tuesday, he went 3-for-5 with an RBI. He said he changed his grip on the bat because of the injury.
"I tried to put a couple good swings on the ball," he said.
All-American Kolbrin Vitek hit his ninth home run of the year in the first inning, giving Ball State an early lead.
But Purdue tied the game in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs off Brad Piatt. The senior has fallen out of the weekend rotation and is trying to work his way back from a poor beginning.
Beals said there were some positives from Piatt's first start in three weeks.
"We've been working on some things as far as his pitch sequence so we can find the right niche for him to be successful," Beals said. "His ability to use the fastball and be a bit more strategic when he uses it."
Tuesday's loss makes today's home game against NAIA member Indiana Tech more meaningful. Beals said it will help provide the team with momentum going into its weekend series against the University at Buffalo.
"It's a home game, and it's important to build some confidence to build into the weekend series," Beals said.