There isn’t one particular flaw that Ball State baseball (17-18, 5-7 MAC) can quite put its finger on. Flirting with a .500 record all season, the team will travel to Bowling Green (9-23, 4-6 MAC) this weekend, in hopes of getting over the hump.
Entering the contest, head coach Rich Maloney wants to see stability in his team.
“We need to see consistency in our pitching and in our hitting,” Maloney said. “We just haven’t been consistent enough, so our goal is consistency. If we pitch like we’re capable of, get timely hits and make the routine play, we’ll be in good shape.”
Maloney is familiar with the coaching staff at Bowling Green and knows his team is going to have to play sharp if it wants to pick up a pair of wins. Head coach Danny Schmitz has been in charge of the Falcons since 1991.
“[Bowling Green] is very well-coached,” Maloney said. “They don’t usually beat themselves. Danny does a great job with his group, and it’s always competitive. I always think, it’s not so much who we’re playing, it’s more about if we’re going to play up to our potential. If we do the things we’re capable of, we’ll win a fair share of games.”
However, after dropping its last series against Miami, Ball State is seeking improvement, especially in its pitching staff. The Cardinals performance on the rubber was problematic against the Redhawks.
“We didn’t pitch well enough,” Maloney said. “If you look at the number of runs that we gave up over the weekend, we have to do a better job. Our pitching is supposed to be our strength, but it hasn’t been so far. But I am hopeful. I like the way Dre Jameson is pitching; I like the way John Baker is throwing; I like the way Cody Freed did this past week, so I’m encouraged by that.”
Looking at Ball State’s season as a whole, its record on paper doesn’t do the team justice — until one looks at the scores to every game.
“We lost four close games that were very winnable,” Maloney said. “If we would have won those four games, we’d be in first place. As much as we see ourselves for where we’re at, you also can look at it and say, we’re not as far off as we look.”
With just a day to prepare for the weekend series after its midweek game against No. 7 Indiana concluded, Ball State will continue to work on situational stuff. According to Maloney, it’s the little moments that are capable of winning a close game.
“It’s those moments, when you get a guy on third, less than two outs … you have to get a hit,” Maloney said. “We get a man on, we have to execute it. We just need a little bit more in any area. It’s not any one area that’s separated.”
The Cardinals will head into the weekend with the goal of pulling away from the .500 record they’ve sat near all season.
“We’re seeing some glimmers of hope, but we still have to get over the top there,” Maloney said. “We still have a tendency to not be able to get that big hit when we need it to break the game open. We hang close and sometimes we win those and sometimes we lose them. That’s why we’re 50/50.”
First pitch is slated for Friday at 3:05 p.m. in Bowling Green, Ohio.