After a historic season and postseason, winning a Mid-American Conference Championship and making it to the NCAA Tournament, the Ball State Baseball season comes to an end.
Head coach Rich Maloney said he would never forget the team being selected and hearing Ball State be picked to play in an NCAA regional.
Ball State (36-23) lost their elimination game against West Virginia (40-20).
Although the Cardinals lost 13-5, for a majority of the time it was a back-and-forth contest between the teams.
“Today we had the excitement of the beginning,” Maloney said. “We rallied from behind, got the lead and we just didn't have to shut down the inning we needed it. We needed really badly to have a shutdown inning and we just couldn't do it. Tribute to West Virginia they are a really good team and they got us back right after we smacked them, they smacked us back and that was kind of the end of it.”
A gapper to center field from junior Nick Gregory made it a 1-0 score favoring the Cardinals to end things in the second.
The third inning saw a three-run home run from Mountaineers make things 3-1 at the top of the third.
Ball State responded with a four-run inning, taking a 5-3 lead, the last time Ball State would put runs on the board.
West Virginia added four runs in the fourth inning, one run in the seventh, and a final nail in the coffin came with five runs in the ninth inning.
When talking about what he would remember most from this Ball State squad, Maloney said something he had said time and time again. He would remember their “grit.”
“We had three of our top five pitchers out for many weeks,” Maloney said. “That was a real testament to this team to stay the course. Then when we got smoked and had to eat it against Kent at home, that was really hard to swallow. But it gave us the opportunity to be ready for the tournament and then the guys played such a great, great tournament. So I’ll just remember the grit.”
Maloney also said he is going to remember all the hard-working veterans.
“They won a MAC regular season championship, they won a [MAC] tournament championship, and now they got to pass the baton on to the others,” Maloney said. “That's kind of the story of our program. A lot of the relationships are what you remember. Well, I value these kids. I'm so proud of them, and just it's been a privilege coaching them.”