COLUMBUS, Ohio – Grades and some bad news for Ball State University were released Tuesday morning.
The Cardinals found out that left fielder Kory Benbow was academically ineligible after the spring semester. The senior has played his final game in a Ball State uniform.
Coach Greg Beals said Wednesday that Benbow will not play again this year.
Benbow, a telecommunications major, is a four-year starter for Ball State. He played in 45 of the Cardinals' 47 games this year before being ruled ineligible. Benbow hit .285 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs in his final season.
Zach Dygert, the Cardinals' captain, didn't have much to say about Benbow's situation.
"Kory was a good teammate and is still a good friend," Dygert said. "When the season wraps up, we'll still be friends."
Ball State will lose its starting left fielder and six-hole hitter. Stephen Claypool moved into Benbow's spot in the lineup Wednesday at Ohio State University and Kirby Campbell started in left field. Beals said he will use a platoon of Campbell and Ryan Chenoweth.
Slumping Vitek: With just two weeks left in the regular season, All-American second baseman Kolbrin Vitek is going through a slump.
In the last five games, Vitek is 4-for-21 with one RBI. Though he still leads Ball State in batting average, Vitek is hitting just .377. This is the lowest his average has dropped since Spring Break, when he struggled through a 5-for-20 stretch.
For most players such a slump is normal, but for Vitek and the Cardinals, it is more of a cause for concern.
"He's is trying to figure out what they'll throw him as opposed to staying focused on what he wants to hit," Beals said. "I think he's looking for off-speed pitches a little too much. He's getting enough fastballs that he needs to stay focused on what he wants to do in the batter's box."
Award update: A few honors were handed out this week to Ball State players.
Reliever Derek Grabner was named Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Week, first baseman Ian Nielsen was named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District team and Vitek was placed on the watch list for the John Olerud Award for two-way players.
Nielsen is the first Cardinal to be honored by the magazine since Kyle Dygert in 2005. The sophomore is now eligible for the academic All-American team. He has a 3.83 GPA and is majoring in health education.