BASEBALL: Godfrey leads weekend’s offensive charge
As Sean Godfrey stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth against Eastern Michigan, his stat sheets were already pretty full.
The Ball State right fielder already had 10 RBIs, hit a grand slam and two wins under his belt. When he got his pitch, a fastball low and inside, he swung and laced it just over the third baseman’s head and down the left field line, bringing home Ryan Spaulding for the win.
A walk-off double to sweep the Eagles was the only thing left for him to accomplish.
“He put on a display this weekend; he was a major contributor in all three games,” Ball State head coach Rich Maloney said. “The presence he brings, he’s got it all and his leadership is fantastic.”
Ball State knocked off Eastern Michigan 6-5 on Sunday, much of it due to Godfrey’s contributions. The double was No. 16 for him on the season, putting him toward the top of the nation in that category.
His offense spurred Ball State’s, which put up 33 runs over the three game sweep.
“It felt like every time I went up to bat, there was somebody on base,” Godfrey said. “Hitting is contagious, when you see one guys get a hit then it can roll over, everybody starts playing well and we’re all just having a good time.”
Ball State’s offense heated up quickly when the weekend began, scoring 20 in the first matchup against Eastern Michigan. Ball State jumped on Eastern Michigan early, scoring nine runs in the first two innings and chasing starter Ryan Lavoie off the mound in less than two innings. Godfrey had five RBIs and went 4-4.
The offense was aided by seven Eastern Michigan errors over the weekend, keeping Ball State players alive when they could have been walking back to the dugout.
The Cardinals usually made them pay. When Eagles third baseman Ty Gilmore was unable to scoop a routine ground ball at the start of Sunday’s game, Spaulding came around to score, just one play after Godfrey brought home a run.
“[Godfrey] was just unconscious,” Maloney said. “It sure is nice to see so many people contribute, there were all sorts of guys knocking in runs.”
Eleven different Cardinals had RBI’s over the weekend, including nine in the first game. Most of it came from small-ball offense, which Maloney teaches. Instead of power, he teaches his players to find gaps in the defense, advance runners using well-timed steals, then take advantage when runners are in scoring position.
It gave Ball State an advantage over the Eastern Michigan offense, which often put runners on base but struggled to score.
Godfrey’s contributions weren’t just limited to offense. With his team leading 2-0 in the top of the second, a high-arcing throw from the middle of right field was perfectly placed and caught by catcher Jarett Rindfleisch, who tagged the runner out at home plate.
With the final game tied at five, Maloney briefly felt nervous.
“[Eastern Michigan] caught up and it seemed like the wheels were coming off,” he said. “We still needed to find a way to win.”
When Godfrey’s line drive landed just to the right of the third base foul line, they had found that way.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated the Ball State baseball team scored 63 runs over the weekend. This is incorrect; the team scored 33. The Daily News regrets this error.