BASEBALL: Ball State begins weekend series with Eastern Michigan
Cardinals look to push ahead of Eagles in MAC standings
Six days have past since Ball State dished out an 8-1 win against Mid-American Conference foe Central Michigan last Sunday.
Now, the stakes are even higher for Ball State (12-25, 8-6 MAC) as it travels to Ypsilanti, Mich., for a three-game weekend series with another MAC opponent, the Eastern Michigan Eagles (25-15, 9-6 MAC).
Both Ball State and Eastern Michigan enter this weekend a half game within each other. The Eagles, who are in a three-way tie for second in the West division, hold a slim lead over the Cardinals, who sit in fifth.
An extra couple of days off has benefited rather than hurt coach Alex Marconi's team.
"It's never ideal to have a whole week off," Marconi said. "It'll give some guys a chance to recuperate. Especially with these young guys who aren't used to all this traveling and play, it gives them a chance to rest."
Having played 37 games thus far, including three doubleheaders, the Cardinals are starting to show signs of wear and tear.
Nonetheless, Ball State will give the Eagles all they can handle, starting with junior right-hander Cal Bowling.
Bowling (4-3, 2.62 ERA) is coming off of his worst start in conference play this season, allowing nine runs, five earned, off of eight hits in just 5 1/3 innings pitched against the Chippewas last Saturday.
Marconi is confident his No. 1 pitcher will bounce back.
"[He] should be fine," Marconi said. "Cal, even though he took the loss and we gave up runs, it wasn't a rough outing."
After receiving run support from the bottom of the order last weekend, Marconi hopes his team can keep remain hot at the plate.
"If we can get that for three more games, we're going to be in really good shape," Marconi said. "The question is can we put it together. That's been the question all year long."
First pitch is set for 6 p.m. tonight.
Games two and three are set for Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.