Tyler Poslosky

For Ball State, the biggest conference test of the season could come in this weekend's series with Mid-American Conference West division favorite Central Michigan (18-19, 7-5 MAC).

The Cardinals (11-23, 7-4 MAC) enter this series a half game out of first place in the division, while the Chippewas are a full game out of first.

The Cardinals have dropped six of 10 games to the Chippewas in the last three years, but look to reverse that mark.

Junior right-hander Cal Bowling will take the mound this afternoon in game one for Ball State.

Bowling (4-2, 2.10 ERA) will be making his 10th start of the season. His 60 innings pitched leads the Cardinals pitching staff on the season.

Bowling is nearly unbeatable in conference play this season, as he has recorded a 0.77 ERA in 35 innings of work.

In his last outing, Bowling came up an inning short of his fourth straight complete game.

The Chippewas will counter with junior left-hander Trent Howard (3-3, 1.95 ERA).

Howard has tossed 60 innings for Central Michigan and has struck out 66 batters to just 13 walks on the season.

Freshman first baseman Kenny Mahala leads the team with a .325 batting average and four home runs. Mahala is second on the team in RBIs, with 19 on the season.

Both teams match up well with one another statistically, but the series could come down to who makes the most plays and the fewest mental mistakes.

First pitch is set for 3 p.m. this afternoon at Ball Diamond.