Drew Pierce is a junior journalism major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
Ball State Baseball (0-3, 0-0 MAC) kicked off its season last weekend by losing three straight against Georgia Southern (3-1, 0-0 Southern Belt). Despite starting the season 0-3 for the first time since 2016, the Cardinals’ season will not be defined by these 27 innings down in Georgia.
In fact, I believe that Ball State is going to come back stronger than ever. When a season has over 50 games scheduled, blowouts and tough losses will happen. There is no way around it. Head coach Rich Maloney told The Ball State Daily News.
“I always tell the guys that in a 56-game regular season, you’re going to have eight games where you handily beat a team, and you’ll have eight games where you’re beaten handily,” Maloney said. “It’s all part of the process.”
He is exactly right. This series happened to be in favor of the Eagles, but it is only the start. The Cardinals know how to rebound and got a few ugly losses out of the way. Last season, Ball State dropped five of its first seven and went on to finish 38-19 on the year. Therefore, the Cardinals have proven they can turn around a slow start in a monumental way.
Now, the road back to a winning record won’t be easy as there are some big games coming up. Some notable away games include contests at Michigan State, Kansas and Indiana. Going on the road and taking on big teams like these will pose interesting challenges for Ball State.
However, Ball State will have home-field advantage against top teams like Indiana and Purdue later in the schedule. These will most likely be the Cardinals’ toughest tests, as both these squads have given Ball State trouble in the past.
All of these teams are probably better than Georgia Southern, but that does not mean Ball State is out of the running. In fact, I think that the Cardinals have the potential to beat any of these competitors.
Once the end of March rolls around, Ball State will start facing some Mid-American Conference opponents. Of these teams, Central Michigan and Northern Illinois will most likely be the biggest challenges.
Despite falling to 0-3 this season, this will not be a common trend moving forward. I predict that Ball State will finish the regular season 34-19 assuming no games are canceled. Whether or not this prediction is spot on, Ball State will surely turn around the season and find its first win very soon.