Last weekend, Ball State Baseball (5-7) lost all four games in the Carolinas Coastline Classic. This weekend, the Cardinals bounced back, going 4-1 against Florida A&M (6-7) in the last weekend before Mid-American Conference play.
To start the weekend off with a bang, fifth-year first baseman Trenton Quartermaine kept his hot streak from last weekend going, when he blasted four home runs in the first three games of the series. He credited this to his aggressive approach at the plate.
“I’ve been jumping on more fastballs early in the count,” Quartermaine said. “Early in the year I was being over-aggressive and now I’m starting to hit my stride.”
Quartermaine had five hits over the weekend, four of them being home runs and in the three games Quartermaine homered in, the Cardinals won. On Friday, Ball State won 6-3 and in Saturday’s doubleheader, the Cardinals defeated the Rattlesnakes 7-4 and 6-1.
The Cardinals 6-1 victory in game two of the doubleheader, sophomore right-handed pitcher Ty Johnson held a no-hitter through six innings, ultimately going six innings, giving up one hit and striking out nine batters. Ball State head coach Rich Maloney said Johnson’s performance was outstanding and helped him learn things about his entire pitching staff.
“I think we’ve got some quality arms,” Maloney said. “I knew that going in but now that I’ve seen it, I feel like we’re not too far off from having a really solid pitching staff.”
Maloney also said freshman right-handed pitcher Nate Dohm threw 95-96 MPH range through his four and ⅔ innings pitched allowing one hit and striking out eight. This outing came in the Cardinals' only loss of the weekend but was one Maloney said just came down to bad luck.
“Today [Sunday’s loss] was the best we’ve hit all year,” Maloney said. “It was just lineout, lineout, lineout, lineout, diving play, diving play, line out, line out.”
The Cardinals would ultimately fall to the Rattlesnakes 5-3 but gave up three hits and only struck out twice in comparison to Florida A&M’s 15.
Ball State’s best hitting performance over the weekend came from fifth-year right fielder Nick Powell who had seven hits, one being a home run, along with six RBIs. Maloney said he was pleased to see the Cardinals bounce back from last weekend.
“It was good to get in the positive column,” Maloney said. “Our guys played really well. We won three of four, started hitting better and for the most part pitched really well.”
Next weekend, the Cardinals will begin MAC play and Quartermaine said over the first twelve games of the season, he’s learned that Ball State has resilience.
“The team will never quit,” Quartermaine said. “We’re realizing no matter how much we’re down, we’re just one big swing away from getting right back into a game.”
Maloney said the Cardinals 5-7 record will be disregarded after today, as Ball State will focus on the rest of the season.
“You can throw all the stats away and throw the record away,” Maloney said. “It’s always 0-0 when we start the 40 game grind in the MAC.”
The Cardinals will be in action at home for the first time this season next weekend, March 11-13. They will take on Eastern Michigan (2-7) in a four-game set over three days in Muncie, Indiana.