Greg Beals will give the Ball State University rotation a shakeup this weekend at the Caravelle Resort Invitational hosted by Coastal Carolina University this weekend.
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Ball State University second baseman Kolbrin Vitek was named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week on Tuesday.
Hobbs earned his first collegiate win in only his second appearance.
Ball State got solid starts against host UAB from Cal Bowling, Scott Brothers Jr. and Kolbrin Vitek, but all three came away without a victory. In the final three games, nine relievers combined to go 0-2 with three blown saves, a 9.75 ERA and 17 walks in 12 innings of work.
The Blazers snatched a 10-9 extra-innings win from the Cardinals' clutch, coming back from deficits of 5-2 and 9-7 in the late innings. After a 6-0 win earlier in the day, the victory in the nightcap gave UAB (2-2) a sweep of the doubleheader.
Reliever Seth Hobbs (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless inning for the victory, and Morgan Coombs picked up the save. Blake Huddleston (0-1) gave up all four runs in the ninth and was the losing pitcher.
Stymied by UAB starting pitcher Beau Pender, Ball State dropped the first game of Saturday's doubleheader 6-0.
Ball State won once in their three-game series at then-No. 15 University of Arkansas last weekend, which pleased coach Greg Beals. But now, it expects more at UAB.
Arkansas has hosted four NCAA Regionals and one Super Regional in Baum Stadium. The field can hold more than 10,000 fans, and looks more like a minor league ballpark. Since it opened, both Baseball American and rivals.com have named it the best collegiate stadium in the nation.
Ball State used only two pitchers Saturday. Cal Bowling started the game and pitched four innings, allowing one run. Morgan Coombs (1-0) relieved the sophomore and threw five gutsy innings for the victory. The right-hander was in trouble throughout his outing, but was able to escape jam after jam. Arkansas had at least one runner on base in each of the first eight innings and stranded 12 in all.
Ball State last defeated a ranked team last year, when they pounded No. 23 Ohio State University 20-8 April 22. It was also Ball State's first win against a school from the Southeastern Conference since the 2006 NCAA Tournament, when it upset the University of Kentucky.
Jumping out to an early lead, Ball State held on and defeated No. 15 Arkansas 5-2 Saturday afternoon.
The two teams will resume their three-game series today at 2 p.m. Arkansas, however, will likely be without second baseman Bo Bigham. The sophomore dove for a ball in the outfield and landed awkwardly on his left arm. He left the game with what was later reported as a dislocated shoulder.
The Razorbacks start the year ranked No. 15 and reached the final four of the College World Series last year before falling to eventual national champion Louisiana State University.
Cody Elliott will replace Jeremy Hazelbaker in center field this year, after the All-American signed with the Boston Red Sox.
Last year, Ball State had the worst defense in the MAC. This year, the Cardinals know that area of the game must be improved.
The approach is similar to what coach Greg Beals and other college coaches use in midweek games when their best starting pitchers are resting. The difference with Ball State's new approach is the length of the pitchers' outings. In a typical midweek game, Beals often uses pitchers for only one inning at a time.
Former first round draft pick Larry Bigbie helped bring the Ball State baseball program into the national stage.
Even as preseason accolades roll in, Ball State is trying to remain focused on Opening Day at Arkansas in less than two weeks.