Grinding out wins has become a common occurrence for the Ball State baseball team.

En route to a 18-9 start, the offense and defense have taken turns controlling play and bringing the team to victory.

In the Cardinals’ first 28 games, there were 10 occasions where the offense pushed across six runs or more, and there were 13 outings where the team managed four runs or less.

Before the season began, head coach Rich Maloney believed if his squad could average six runs a game they would find themselves in the opportunity to win their fair share of games. Maloney does not believe that high scoring affairs are the only way his team can earn victories.

“The guys are a team,” Maloney said. “They have rebounded from some times where we had some tough challenges. … It says a lot about their character.”

The Cardinal’s character was once again put to the test last weekend in the first match up against the Bulls. Ball State squandered seven run leads on two separate occasions and eventually fell 13-14 to its conference rival.

The loss was the first for Ball State in conference play, and left Maloney wondering how his team would respond in the next match up.

Ball State’s ace Scott Baker quickly put any thoughts of doubt to rest, as the senior commanded his pitches and allowed Buffalo to score only two runs on four hits while pitching the full nine innings.

“[Baker] gave us a big lift when we had to have it,” Maloney said. “We lost a very difficult [game one], and it was hard on all of us. … Baker’s sterling performance really set the ship right. That’s what a leader needs to do, and that’s what a former MAC pitcher of the year needs to do and he answered the bell when we had to have it.”