In Ball State’s 3-1 win April 23, Ball Diamond at First Merchants Ballpark Complex was officially dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 630 fans in the stadium were also more than double the season-long average attendance of 298.
Junior right fielder Alex Call hit the go-ahead two-run home run in the seventh inning and said it was exciting to have a large crowd.
“It’s always good to have positive endorsement for Ball State baseball,” he said. “It was a beautiful day, beautiful stadium, beautiful dedication ceremony. I will say, the group who sang did a great job before the game.”
Most home games begin with a recording of “The Star Spangled Banner,” but with interim president Terry King, governing board members and representatives of First Merchants Corporation in attendance, Ball State a cappella group Note to Self was on hand for a live performance of the national anthem.
Edric Mitchell, a second-year graduate student and Note to Self’s music director, said it was “a real honor” to perform at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“A lot of our audiences are people that enjoy music, people that come to our a cappella concerts, but for us to be able to come to a sporting event and bridge those two worlds together is nice," Mitchell said.
Three 50-inch TVs donated by First Merchants were also given away during the game.
Senior left-handed pitcher Matt Haro pitched five scoreless innings in the game and was credited with the win. He said he fed off of the crowd’s energy.
“You get that support coming from the fans, and every good play you make, you hear it from the stands,” he said.
The renovations at Ball Diamond also play a role in recruiting. Junior left-handed pitcher Kevin Marnon said the facilities helped convince him to transfer to Ball State when the University of Akron shut down its baseball program.
“You can tell the athletic program, they put a lot of money into the baseball team,” he said. “Our field is top notch, our locker room’s very nice, we’ve got nice uniforms and things like that."
Though Ball State won the game, it dropped two of the three games in the series. Still, the Cardinals are in first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
Ball State (24-17, 10-5 MAC) will host Northern Kentucky (15-26, 4-15 Horizon League) at Ball Diamond on April 26 at 1 p.m.