Playing clean, error free baseball was what helped launch Ball State into a six game winning streak coming into Saturday’s doubleheader against Akron.
54 outs and 18 innings later, it was clear that errors were one of the main causes for two losses suffered by the Cardinals.
The team lost the first game 7-4, and the second 4-3.
Ball State committed five errors, including four in the first game, which led to a multitude of runs for Akron. Without getting the run support they got over their winning streak, the defensive mistakes were too much to overcome.
Ryan Spaulding, Sean Godfrey, T.J. Weir, and Elbert DeVarie each had an error in the first game, which led to at least three of Akron’s runs.
“Of all the games we’ve played this year, that was probably the worst game that we’ve played,” Coach Rich Maloney said. “That was one of those eight games that occurs for a team each year.”
Maloney believes that every season, there are roughly eight games where the opponent will thoroughly dominate the other opponent.
His team hoped to get off to a better start in game two, but early on, it shaped up to be a replay of the first game.
The first batter grounded a ball softly to the left, but Weir fumbled the pick-up and let the runner in safely at first. After a stolen base, a single to center scored him, making Ball State immediately pay for the error.
The Cardinals didn’t commit another error for the rest of the game, but that one play seemed to emphasis what went wrong for the team over the two games.
The team wasn’t clicking, and always seemed to be thinking about what to do with the ball before it was actually in the mitt.
“Coach [Maloney] is going to have us practicing hard this week,” Godfrey said. “We can’t allow plays like that to happen.”
Ball State committed just six errors during its six game winning streak.
The losses sting for Maloney, not just because they’re conference games, but because making routine plays is a key that he speaks about constantly.
He said without the errors in game one, his team would have had a much better shot at getting a win.
In baseball, making a lot of little plays successfully can have the same effect as one big play.
Maloney was frustrated that his team literally and figuratively dropped the ball on the little plays.
“Today was an example of the importance to doing the little things and we didn’t do them as well today as we have been,” Maloney said. “In a close game, making those mistakes will end up biting you.”