BASEBALL: Another tough loss to No. 12 Coastal Carolina for Ball State

Beals says Cardinals close to elite teams

Unable to pull out a close game for the second day at No. 12 Coastal Carolina University, Ball State University is forced to be content with knowing it can play with the top teams in the country.

The Cardinals lost 3-2 Monday afternoon to the Chanticleers, following a loss of the same score Sunday. Ball State (3-8) held a 2-1 lead late on Monday, but was unable to hold it and Coastal Carolina (10-1) extended their winning streak to nine games in the bottom of the ninth.

"The competition we're playing against is very good," coach Greg Beals said. "Beating teams like that at home is not easy to do."

Coastal Carolina scored the winning run with two outs when third baseman Stephen Claypool's throw to second was a second too late to record the force out and send the game to extra innings. Reliever Heath Riley (0-1) took the loss, while Jim Conway earned the victory for the Chanticleers.

Beals said finishing games is an area the Cardinals need to improve.

"We need to learn how to put games away and make plays down the line and make pitches down the line and get big hits late in the game," he said. "We need to keep getting more comfortable and learn how to win games."

Ball State took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning when shortstop T.J. Baumet drew a bases-loaded walk. The Cardinals first run came in the third, on a sacrifice fly from starting pitcher Kolbrin Vitek.

Vitek allowed one run on four hits in four innings. Cody Elliott relieved Vitek, and threw three shutout innings. It was Elliott's second career appearance.

Baumet was the only Ball State player with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base. Vitek and second baseman Mitch Widau had the only other Cardinal hits.

After being in a position to sweep Coastal Carolina, Beals wants his team to remember the success.

"The knowledge that we can play head-to-head and how small talent gap is," he said. "That's how close we are to being that good."