BASEBALL: Red Sox GM gets a close look at Vitek
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Scouts are nothing new around Ball State University games.
As usual, plenty of scouts watched Ball State 6-4 loss to Bowling Green State University on Wednesday morning. But one of the scouts in attendance took everyone at VA Memorial Stadium by surprise.
General manager Theo Epstein led a strong Boston Red Sox contingent for the game.
Epstein was watching Cardinals second baseman Kolbrin Vitek, who is projected to be picked in the first round of the MLB draft June 7. Epstein's attendance Wednesday showed the Red Sox are seriously considering the All-American junior.
Boston has the 20th overall pick of the draft.
Pitching scramble: Opening the Mid-Amerian Conference Tournament with a loss to Bowling Green, Ball State fell into the losers' bracket.
The result will force coach Greg Beals to rearrange his pitching rotation. Cal Bowling was scheduled to start the Cardinals second game of the MAC Tournament, but Beals is unwilling to leave Chillicothe without using its ace, Vitek.
However, it has only been four days since Vitek threw 77 pitches over five innings at the University of Toledo.
"Kolbrin will pitch tomorrow at some point," Beals said. "I don't know whether he'll start or not. We've got to sit down and figure that out."
Last year Vitek pitched in Ball State's season-ending 15-6 defeat. He took the loss against Ohio University, despite allowing just two earned runs in six innings.
Pitching, part II: Despite the loss, Ball State's pitching staff is in good shape for Thursday's elimination game.
Starting pitcher Perci garner went seven innings and reliever Derek Grabner pitched the final two innings for the Cardinals.
Beals will have his entire pitching staff at his disposal Thursday, including Grabner, who threw just 27 pitches.
"Our pitching staff is fine," Beals said. "Perci did a good job today and got us deep into the game."