BASEBALL: Ball State heads to Purdue looking for its first Big Ten win
Cardinals hope for big offensive day
Still looking for its first victory against a Big Ten team this year, Ball State University will travel to West Lafayette on Tuesday to take on Purdue University.
Ball State is 0-3 against the Big Ten, including its first loss to Indiana University since 1998. The Boilermakers (15-14) have won three of its last four games against the Cardinals (13-17) and coach Greg Beals will be trying to change that.
"We'll run the normal lineup out Tuesday," he said. "We hope to keep improving the offense, and we still have time to figure it out."
Ball State's offense didn't have any problems last weekend at Bowling Green State University. The Cardinals won the series, scoring 44 runs in the first two games of the weekend.
Taking the hill for Ball State will be right-hander Brad Piatt. The senior has not pitched well this season and has a 9.64 ERA in seven appearances. He pitched on Opening Day for Ball State at then-No. 15 University of Arkansas, but has since fallen out of the rotation.
Piatt threw two shutout innings during Ball State's 32-10 victory Saturday, his first scoreless outing of the year.
The Cardinals will likely need their offense to step up Tuesday like they have during the Mid-American Conference season. First baseman Ian Nielsen, one of the key pieces of Ball State's attack, came alive against Bowling Green. He hit .467 with 11 RBIs against the Falcons.
A year ago, Nielsen might have had some extra motivation for Tuesday's game, fueled by playing his brother. But Eric, a former catcher at Purdue, graduated last year, making this just another game for the Nielsen family.
"We need to focus on being better as a team," he said. "It's not anything I put more in to."
Ball State hopes to have shortstop T.J. Baumet back in its lineup after he missed the final two games at Bowling Green. The junior was hit in the hand Friday and was replaced in the lineup by Mitch Widau.
Beals said Sunday he didn't think Baumet's injury was serious.
Ball State at Purdue
Game No. 31
First pitch: 4 p.m.
Pitching matchup: RHP Brad Piatt (0-3, 9.64 ERA) vs. LHP Pat Gannon (2-1, 5.40)
Weather: 79 degrees, partly cloudy, WNW 6 mph