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VU's Justin Kirkpatrick inks NLI with Ball State baseball program

Vincennes University sophomore infielder Justin Kirkpatrick has signed a national letter of intent to continue his collegiate baseball career at Ball State, beginning with the 2016-17 school year.

Kirkpatrick was a part-time starter at shortstop as a freshman last spring. In 21 games and 57 official at-bats, he hit .246 with six runs batted in, plus double and triple. He also stole a base. Kirkpatrick went 2-for-3 with a walk as part of a 13-run VU outburst in a March 29 victory over St. Joseph’s.

Defensively, the 6-1, 175-pound Kirkpatrick was solid during his freshman campaign in helping the Trailblazers to a 27-25 record. He posted a .933 fielding percentage as he committed only five errors in 75 chances.

The opportunity with the Cardinals is a perfect fit for the remainder of his collegiate diamond career, Kirkpatrick said. Ball State (33-25 in 2015) is a high-quality program that is a member of a prominent conference, the Mid-American Conference (MAC), he added. In addition, Ball State offers Kirkpatrick’s major, sports management, so he can continue his chosen field of study and the Muncie-based school is fairly close to his hometown of Pendleton.

The Cardinals will also be a veteran squad when Kirkpatrick arrives in Muncie. Counting a fifth-year senior, Ball State’s roster for the 2016 season holds 21 players who are a sophomore or higher in class.

“My goals (for Ball State) are to win the MAC and hopefully develop so I might be able to continue my career after Ball State,” Kirkpatrick said. “(BSU Head) Coach (Rich) Maloney and the rest of the coaches are great people and I’m just glad I’m getting a chance to be a part of the program after my opportunities here at VU.”

**PHOTO: With Kirkpatrick are, seated: grandmother Arlene Hasler and brother Jordan Kirkpatrick. Standing: grandfather Don Hasler and mother Dana Kirkpatrick.

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