It is baseball season.
This weekend was the beginning of Ball State baseball's (2-2) 56 game regular season campaign. At the Swig and Swine tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, the Cardinals split its four games.
Head coach Rich Maloney said it was great to be back playing competitive baseball again and said he knows that with this weekend’s results come problem solving.
“We knew we’d have some things to figure out and that’s certainly where we’re at,” Maloney said. “I’m super proud of how the guys finished.”
The Cardinals closed the weekend out with a 10-6 victory over Army (1-2) after losing to Iowa (3-0) 11-1 and Air Force (2-2) 9-0. On Saturday, the Cardinals were outscored 20-1 with a combined six hits over those two games.
Although Maloney said he wasn’t pleased with the results of Saturday’s doubleheader, he said those games tested the Cardinals character. He said the win on Sunday was all the more impressive due to these circumstances.
“To beat a team like Army that has been to the (NCAA Tournament) Regional in recent years after a 12-hour bus drive Friday and a double header Saturday showed our resolve,” Maloney said.
Junior third baseman Ryan Peltier said he was unhappy with Saturday’s results, and the Cardinals were looking to prove something going into the game against Army.
“We definitely did not show up to play yesterday, and that was a tough one to swallow,” Peltier said. “Today was a new day. Everyone on the team was able to pull through today.”
Peltier finished Sunday's game 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. On the weekend, he collected one hit (three total) and six walks.
In the first game of the weekend, the Cardinals defeated Bucknell (0-3) 8-7. Maloney said the sum of this weekend’s games allowed for the Cardinals, specifically their pitching staff, to begin to find their roles.
“We had the opportunity to pitch so many different guys (17) and it’s more than I’ve ever pitched,” Maloney said. “We have to figure out what roles everyone fits in. We always take our guys as developmental guys and look to make them better.”
During the weekend, two Cardinals were injured one of which is freshman catcher and designated hitter, Hunter Dobbins, who had two home runs and 4 RBIs on Friday. They were sidelined for the remaining games. Despite injuries, Maloney was pleased with the Cardinals resilience and depth to finish the weekend 2-2.
“We were able to battle through injuries to two key players and that’s the strength of a team,” Maloney said. “We’re going to get tested by our depth whether it’s injuries or other circumstances. It’s going to take a team effort to win.”
Peltier echoed Maloney’s thoughts when he said the Cardinals as a whole were able to bounce back from the losses on Saturday. Coming away from this weekend, Peltier said the Cardinals are content with a split but not happy.
“I think we have a really good team,” Peltier said. “We have some things to work on but we have a couple non-conference weekends to figure that out. We’re coming home with a split, we wanted more but it was good to get a win today.” The Cardinals will return to action on Friday, Feb. 25th-Sunday Feb. 27th as they travel to the Carolinas to battle the University of North Carolina Wilmington (3-0), Middle Tennessee (1-2) and Coastal Carolina (2-0).