Ball State Baseball gets back on field, gets feel for team

<p>Members of Ball State Baseball break a huddle during practice Jan. 30, 2019, in the Field Sports Building. The Cardinals went 2-5 in their first two weekends of 2019. <strong>Zach Piatt, DN&nbsp;</strong></p>

Members of Ball State Baseball break a huddle during practice Jan. 30, 2019, in the Field Sports Building. The Cardinals went 2-5 in their first two weekends of 2019. Zach Piatt, DN 

One day after the 10 MLB playoff teams were finalized, Ball State Baseball got a better feel for what team it had ahead of the 2020 season with an 11-3 win over Butler in a 12-inning exhibition game.

Saturday at Ball Diamond at First Merchants Sports Complex was the Cardinals’ fall scout day. Head coach Rich Maloney said the main goal of the day was to see what kind of team he had.

“You kind of want to see where you’re at,” Maloney said. “We’ve got a nice veteran team, experienced team. We also have a of of guys that are new. Trying to see them in action and in a game setting against another team is important, so part of it was just seeing these guys play.”

Ball State finished the game with 14 hits — 10 of them from returners. Maloney said sophomore infielder Ryan Peltier was the biggest standout offensively. 

Peltier was one of just two Cardinals to play all 12 innings. While he only had two hits in his seven at-bats, he consistently hit the ball hard. In two different plate appearances, Peltier smoked the ball down each line, but they landed foul. In another, he lined out to the third baseman. And in another, he hit a towering shot to left field that likely would have went over the wall if the wind wasn’t blowing in.

“Ryan Peltier hit some shots,” Maloney said. “He hit one deep to left center that would have been way out most days here, but the wind was blowing in. He crushed that thing. I thought he, offensively, was really good.”

Juniors Trenton Quartermaine and Devin Porter started the game batting second and fourth, respectively. Both are transfers in their first year as a Cardinal. They combined for only one hit, but senior catcher Chase Sebby said they both will play a big role when the spring comes around.

“It’s always nice to see what the new guys can do against guys that aren’t on our team,” Sebby said. “Quartermaine and Porter coming in — They’re going to start coming and contributing right away.”

On the mound, eight Cardinal pitchers combined to allow just six hits and three runs. Maloney dubbed senior Luke Jaksich as the pitcher of the day. Jaksich entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs. He got out of the jam without letting a run cross the plate, and he went on to strikeout five of the eight batters he faced.

“I thought Luke did a great job today,” Maloney said. “As a matter of fact, on the pitching side, I really thought he was the MVP. He got out of that bases-loaded jam, and then he turned around and pitched a couple clean innings and was really, really good. I thought he was outstanding.”

Before Saturday, the last time the Cardinals were on the field together was May 25 in a 6-0 loss to Central Michigan that ended their season. Ever since then, Jaksich said the team has been itching to come back and show its improvement.

“We want to come out and beat every team now because Central Michigan beat us in the tournament last year, and we have a chip on our shoulder,” Jaksich said. “Every time we come out to practice, every game we come out — That’s my expectation for this team is to come out every day ready to put it on people.”

Ball State will play another exhibition game Thursday, Oct. 3 when the Cardinals host Great Lakes Canadian.

Contact Zach Piatt with any comments at zapiatt@bsu.edu or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.

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