BASEBALL: Ball State heads into Toledo series after canceled game
Weir set to start on the mound in Friday's game
After having its mid-week game at Purdue cancelled due to unfavorable weather conditions, Ball State (11-26, 6-9) will travel to Toledo for a critical three-game, Mid-American Conference weekend series.
This series against the Rockets marks the beginning of a stretch in which the Cardinals will play 10 of their remaining 13 games regular-season games on the road.
"The whole season is a grind. It's a long season for these guys, plus schoolwork on top of it, but having the game rained out did give us the opportunity to rest some arms and rest some sore bodies," coach Alex Marconi said.
The Rockets enter this three-game series tied for first place in the MAC West Division, while the Cardinals are in fifth place in the division, but are in the eighth and final slot for the MAC Tournament in Avon, Ohio.
Sophomore right-hander T.J. Weir (2-6, 6.02 ERA) will get the start in today's series opener for the Cardinals. It'll be Weir's third consecutive Friday start, as senior ace Cal Bowling continues to nurse a broken right hand.
Weir has looked very solid in his last four starts. Weir has worked a combined 26 2/3 innings, allowed just eight runs while racking up 18 strikeouts. On April 20 versus the visiting Eastern Michigan Eagles, Weir earned his second victory of the season, working six innings, allowing just three runs on seven hits.
Marconi has been thrilled with Weir's production over the last few weeks and hinted that Weir will be the future No. 1 starter for the Cardinals.
"It probably goes back even farther than that," Marconi said. "He's turned into a guy that we thought he might be able to be. Regardless of what he does [today], he's turned into a bona fide Friday starter."
Opposite of Weir will be sophomore lefty Ryan Wilkinson (5-2, 2.49 ERA). Wilkinson's ERA is fifth best in the conference, while he's recorded the second-most wins. Wilkinson will be making his 15th appearance and seventh start of the season. Last weekend, Wilkinson picked up the victory over Northern Illinois allowing three runs on eight hits in seven innings while striking out seven.
"They're pitching the ball pretty decent and they have been for a handful of years now," Marconi said. "That's the thing, we're going to have to have good at-bats and do some things offensively to score some runs against them. If we get the type of pitching that we had last week, I think we'll have three competitive baseball games."