BASEBALL: Riding 2 straight wins, BSU plays EMU in weekend series
T.J. Weir will start on the mound Friday
After defeating Northwestern Ohio 11-7 Tuesday, Ball State will host Mid-American Conference foe Eastern Michigan in a three-game weekend series, starting Friday at 3 p.m.
The Cardinals (9-25, 4-8) have only played a total of 10 games at Ball Diamond this season, winning six and losing four. Nonetheless, coach Alex Marconi feels his team has a better chance at defeating the West division-leading Eagles in their own ballpark.
"Any time we have a series, that's the goal, is to win the series, especially at home," Marconi said. "You're at your home ballpark, you feel comfortable. You know the batters box, you know the field, you know the wind. We're excited about playing at home."
Sophomore right-hander T.J. Weir (1-6, 6.22 ERA) will take the mound for the Cardinals on Friday. This will be Weir's second consecutive Friday start due to senior Cal Bowling's broken right hand.
Over his last three starts, Weir has recorded a 2.21 ERA in 20 1/3 innings of work. Weir has gone into the seventh inning in all three of those starts.
Marconi said he hopes Weir will be able to maintain his momentum from his previous outings.
"What we'd like to see is just another quality start from him," Marconi said. "And he's done a great job really his last five starts, where he's given us a chance to be in the baseball game to have a chance to win the game."
Opposing Weir will be junior right-hander Neil Butara (3-2, 2.53 ERA), who will be making his first career start in Muncie. The Cardinals are somewhat familiar with Butara, who has made brief appearances out of the Eagles' bullpen against them over the past three years.
Despite having only a handful of at-bats against Butara, the Cardinals haven't had much luck.
Weir and senior second baseman Mitch Widau are both 0-for-1 with a strikeout, while junior captain Blake Beemer is 0-for-2 and junior Kirby Campbell is 0-for-1.
"We have to make him execute pitches and not help him out," Marconi said.
In terms of offense, both teams have been lethal with the bats over their past 10 meetings against one another. Over the last three years, the Eagles have scored 118 runs against as opposed to the Cardinals' 92 runs against the Eagles.
Marconi said the weather will be the determining factor in how much each team's offensive production this weekend.
"I guess it depends on which way the wind is blowing," Marconi said. "If it's blowing in, no. If it's blowing out, yes. They are hitting the ball well and they've got a lot of veteran hitters in their lineup. That's the thing that stands out the most about them is their hitters are guys that have had a lot of college at-bats and see a lot of pitches and walk a lot. That, for them will determine their success and it will determine our success as well."