Ball State wins one of three in their first home series of the season

The weekend series put them 1-2 in MAC play

Junior infielder Michael Hallquist screams during the game against Eastern Michigan March 8 at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Hallquist made a triples in the game. Kate Tilbury, DN
Junior infielder Michael Hallquist screams during the game against Eastern Michigan March 8 at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Hallquist made a triples in the game. Kate Tilbury, DN

In a three-game home series this weekend against Mid-American Conference (MAC) opponent Eastern Michigan University, Ball State Baseball showcased just how fast a game can change.


Friday, March 8th, Ball State was losing 8-1 into the bottom of the fourth inning against Eastern, but they bounced back — fast. 

Scoring four runs to help put them within a chance of winning, Eastern answered with two more of their own heading into the ninth inning, making the score 10-6. The Cardinals however weren't done yet, changing the game in an instant. 

They’d score three runs in the ninth, though would narrowly fall short of tying or winning the game, 10-9. 

“Had we won that game —  the whole series would have been different,” head coach Rich Maloney said. 

Regardless of the outcome of Friday night's game, Ball State had two more games to go in the series and they were not going to let the loss impact them negatively. 

Eastern, however, had other plans headed into Saturdays game. 

“Their left-handed pitcher… he just beat us,” Maloney said. 

Ball State was better defensively on Saturday, only allowing 6 runs as opposed to the 10 from the day prior. Yet, offensively, they weren’t able to produce, something Maloney said is partially due to Easterns starting left-handed pitcher. 

The Cardinals would go on to pick up two runs off of just three hits and lose 6-2, putting them dangerously close to experiencing a sweep at home.

Senior Nick Gregory said that headed into today's game, he wanted to make sure that this didn’t happen. 

Gregory was top of the batting order today, and on just the second pitch of the game for Ball State at-bat, he enacted the first part of his plan to ensure his teammates had momentum and motivation to win. 

A solo home run out of the park. 

“I was just trying to get us going and get that energy up and start to have some fun playing the game like when we were kids,” he said. 

Gregorys run instilled everything he hoped for and more in the Cardinals, as they went on to score 10 more runs, holding their opponent to just 2 up until the ninth inning. 

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Sophomore pitcher Brady Owens starts to pitch against Eastern Michigan March 9 at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Ownes pitched for one inning. Kate Tilbury, DN

Junior Meritt Beeker was a huge part of why Gregorys plan worked, as he put on a show on the mound. 

Beeker would pitch for 5.2 innings, and earn 10 strikeouts in the process. He said that the only thing behind his performance was the trust he had in his teammates to help get the job done. 

“It was just attacking hitters, getting ahead, trusting my stuff, letting my defense work and it panned out well,” Beeker said. “Some of those guys made some big plays for me out there and I trusted that our offense was going to be good enough to win the game.”

The Cardinals cruised to the ninth with an 11-2 lead, but then for the second time this weekend, the game changed in an instant — but it was the first time this change was not in their favor. 

Eastern would take hold of Ball State's pitching core, scoring 6 runs in the final inning, with three of them coming before a single out. 

Maloney said, being able to hold out for the win was very important. 

“You know, we were struggling this weekend,” he said. “Eastern won that first game… we were inches away from having a great victory, but we didn’t… Today was huge.”

While the win stopped Ball State from getting swept at home, it also provided them with their first home and MAC victory of the season. Gregory echoed Maloney, saying winning moving forward and through the rest of the week is all about momentum. 

“I mean, we played well prior to this, we know it's there, we know we got the talent it’s just all about momentum, so this one was huge today,” he said. “Guys [bought] into their roll and just got the momentum going.”

Moving forward, Maloney said having guys step up and into their roles is key. 

“We're gonna need a good pitching performance,” Maloney said. “Based on what we've been seeing, we need somebody to rise up. Merritt did it today, but we need some other guys [to]. We got the guys and they're capable of doing it… they’ve just got to do it.”

Ball State remains at home and will play Tuesday, March 12th at 3 p.m. against Purdue Fort Wayne.

Contact Trinity Rea via email at or on X @thetrinityrea.


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