Frankie Ballard's coaches at Western Michigan University may have noticed a change in the singer's commitment during his final two seasons as the team's starting shortstop and leadoff hitter. The 'Helluva Life' hitmaker admits he was distracted, to say the least. 

For some college jocks, girls get in the way of athletic pursuits. For others, it's some of the more devious distractions. For Ballard, it was his guitar. While he'd always played music and sang, the Battle Creek, Mich. native says he didn't realize music could be a career until halfway through his junior year at the Kalamazoo, Mich. university.

“I would stay after practice and take an extra 300 ground balls,” Ballard says. “And then all of a sudden I was leaving early and heading to the blues jam.”

“My coach wouldn’t let me bring my guitar on the bus,” he adds with a smile, but clearly not joking. “I asked, but he wouldn’t let me.”

According to one Bronco Baseball blog, Ballard hit .296 as a senior in college -- not too bad considering his active night gig. 'Helluva Life' just became his first Top 5 single. His new 'Sunshine and Whiskey' album is in stores now.