California State University junior outfielder Robert Ballard fell in love with baseball at an early age. That love led him to compete at the collegiate level. He mentions how his father played a major role in helping him become a baseball player.
“My dad introduced me,” Ballard said. “I started playing basketball, a little of football, but baseball felt like it was the sport to be played.”
After his first season as a Matador, Ballard racked up 31 runs, 14 RBIs, and two home runs. He did not get through the season unscathed, Ballard had to compete while healing from injuries.
“[I’m] kinda playing with a not-really-hurt hamstring,” he said. “Just learning to manage it and I always like being able to go to the trainer so they will be able to help me to be able to play every day.”
In an April game against Hawai’i, Ballard made a career-high of three RBIs. He scored his first home run in February against Kansas State. During that match up, Ballard reached his season high of three hits for the first time; he credits the accomplishment to his team and coaches.
“That game, I talked with some of the coaches about my approach and also some of my teammates and we all had a pretty good scouting report,” he said. “It was a pretty fun day, I’m glad that the coaches and my teammates were able to help me accomplish a three-hit game.”
Ballard not only wants to be a pro baseball player, but a business owner. He is currently majoring in marketing; CSUN provides him various resources to excel as a student. Coaches and advisors help Ballard stay on track with his schoolwork.
His advice to young athletes is to put in an equal effort to have good grades and competitive athletic skill.
“Take academics as seriously as you would sports,” Ballard said. “If you aren’t able to make the grades, then you won’t be able to play on a field that you love the most.”
Prior to joining the Matadors, Ballard played two seasons at Howard College in Big Spring Texas. His sophomore campaign included six homeruns, 20 RBI and 29 runs.
“The league I played in in Texas was actually really good, one of the best junior college conferences,” Ballard said.
A shining moment during his time at Howard College was when he helped his team advance to the junior college regionals.
“For the regionals in Texas we were able to play in Dallas which is where I have a bunch of family,” Ballard said. “Being able to play there in front of my family with my friends against some of the top competition in JUCO baseball is an amazing experience.”
Ballard noted the differences between Texas and California, Texas has a more relaxed while Los Angeles is more congested and has a wider variety of activities. The CSUN community has embraced him since her began his studies there.
“My experience at CSUN has been amazing so far, I like the coaches, I have great teammates and everything and the campus is pretty cool to be at,” Ballard said. “My classes and everything are going pretty smooth so far as well and I’m just enjoying my time here.”