CHIRP: Breakdown - Ball State vs. Indiana
Indiana- Five players are hitting over .300. Junior Alex Dickerson leads the Hoosiers in batting average (.351), home runs (4), RBI (15), slugging percentage (.554) and total bases, with 41. Sophomore Micah Johnson leads the team with 27 hits and 18 runs.
Ball State- Junior infielder Mitch Widau is the only starter hitting .300 or better at .370. Widau leads the Cardinals with a .550 slugging percentage, 13 RBI and is second on the team with 20 hits. Junior Cody Elliott leads the team with 21 hits and is second in RBI, with 11.
-The Hoosiers have collected 10 or more runs in three of their last four games. The offensive production trickles down their roster, starting with Dickerson. Ball State's only source of offense has come off the bat of Widau, who will not be able to carry them for the entire season. Other than Widau and Elliott, there hasn't been much production from the other seven hitters in the lineup. Don't be surprised to see the Hoosiers score more than five runs.
Indiana- Four Hoosiers have yet to commit an error on the season. Sophomore infielder Michael Basil leads the team with six errors. As a team, Indiana has committed just 18 errors in the 19 games it has played this season.
Ball State- Last weekend was one of the best series for the Cardinals defense, but the sloppy play is starting to pile up. Widau leads the team with five errors. As a team, Ball State has recorded a total of 35 errors, just one more than their opponents.
-Indiana's explosive offense has created a cushion for a defensive lapse or two. That is something the Cardinals don't have, which puts more importance on every error committed by their defense. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Cardinals commit more than one error defensively.
Indiana- Junior lefty Drew Leininger is 1-1 in three starts for the Hoosiers this season. Leininger is still developing as a starting pitcher and has recorded seven strikeouts to eight walks in 17 2/3 innings of work. Opponents are hitting .319 off him.
Ball State- Freshman lefty Nestor Bautista will be making his second collegiate career start. With a tremendous amount of potential, there is a lot of room for improvement. Bautista is 0-1, with an 11.17 ERA through 9 2/3 innings of work.
-Even though Leininger is a veteran pitcher, he's still inconsistent at times and has yet to become a developed starter. It'll be interesting to see what kind of outing Leininger has. On the other hand, Bautista is only a freshman with very little experience facing a powerful Hoosiers lineup. However, Bautista has shown flashes of brilliance when he struck out five hitters in three innings of work against then No. 27 Coastal Carolina on March 4. Look for both pitchers to get ahead in the count early to be successful.
Indiana- Junior Chad Martin and freshman Brian Korte have tossed a combined 41 innings, allowing just six earned runs on the season for the Hoosiers. Martin is 1-0, with an ERA of 1.01, while Korte is 1-0, with a 1.88 ERA. If the game is close heading into the later innings, look for the Hoosiers to turn to one or both of these workhorses. Freshman Ryan Halstead has recorded four saves and 11 strikeouts this season for Indiana.
Ball State- The bullpen has been a major concern for the Cardinals. The Cardinals have 12 pitchers with an ERA over five. Sophomore left-hander Jon Cisna leads the team with a 0.71 ERA, while junior lefty Justin Warrington has made a team-leading nine appearances.
-The combination of Martin, Korte and Halstead could cause problems for Ball State. While the Cardinals have struggled offensively, their bats shouldn't overpower the Hoosier's bullpen. If the Cardinals aren't patient at the plate, the Indiana bullpen will have an easy outing.