BY MASON PLUMMER / Lead Writer | Ball State Sports Link
Ball State baseball is off to a nice start to the 2021 season, sporting a 9-8 record as it continues Mid-American Conference play.
Much of the success is due to breakout senior Ross Messina. Messina, a 6-1, 205-pound outfielder out of Missouri, has continued to succeed at Ball State at the plate and in the field.
Messina is known for his high batting average and occasional power at the plate, but it was nearly all taken away from him when a wild pitch against Kentucky got away from the Wildcats pitcher and was heading straight for Messina’s head.
“I remember it being a really close game,” Messina said. “I think we were down and I knew my at-bat was important. The pitcher was throwing it pretty good, probably 93 or 94. His fastball had a lot of run towards righties so I was aware of that.”
Then, in an 0-1 count, Messina fouled a ball off of his shin to take it 0-2 where things took a turn for the worse. Messina, already with a bruised up shin from the pitch before, saw a pitch coming straight for his face.
“I knew he was going to come back inside with a fastball,” Messina said. “I was ready for it but I felt like I had no time to react. He was throwing so hard that it was there in an instant and it just clocked me. It might have gotten a piece of the helmet but it wasn’t much.”
Before the Ball State outfielder knew it, he was down in the dirt with a decent sized laceration below his eyebrow, not exactly sure what had just happened.
Once Messina came to his senses and realized what had happened, he knew he would likely need stitches from the amount of blood clouding his vision.
The Kentucky training staff stitched him up off the diamond, but Messina and everyone around the Ball State program knew he wanted nothing more than to be still in the game, fighting with his teammates to knock off one of the best teams in the country.
The Cardinals ended up defeating Kentucky in a wild finish, capping off a tremendous series against the Wildcats which saw Ball State take two games of three.
Messina is now back in action for Ball State, scar and all, where he is continuing to ride the momentum of a great personal season for him, as well as a great season so far for his team. Ball State has now knocked off Kentucky and Arizona, two premier baseball schools in the country, this season.
The senior outfielder is batting .346 on the season with 10 runs batted in, four doubles and a home run according to BallStateSports.com.
“We have just been playing really gritty,” Messina said. “We always come prepared and ready to play. This team is a squad of older guys and one thing we all know about college baseball is that the game is never over.”
He believes the best is yet to come from the Cardinals, who are getting into the heat of MAC play in the coming weeks.