BASEBALL: Rotation gets a Spring Break makeover

Piatt won't start until Tuesday, Coombs added to starters

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.

Brad Piatt, who has been the Friday starter this year, will not pitch until Tuesday, and Cal Bowling will move up a spot. Joining the rotation will be seniors Morgan Coombs and Scott Brothers, Jr.

Beals said with Ball State playing nine games in 10 days during Spring Break, he wants to play more matchups. Piatt will start Tuesday at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and then again next weekend.

"This will allow Piatt to put more time and effort in his bullpen sessions this week," Beals said. "We have nine games in 10 days, all the guys will have to give us quality innings."

Piatt has not pitched well in his two starts this season. He is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in 6 2/3 innings against the University of Arkansas and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Coombs and Brothers are typically relievers, but Brothers started last weekend at UAB and threw six innings, allowing two runs. Coombs has a victory and a save this season, and leads the Cardinals in innings pitched with nine.

Beals hopes Spring Break can provide some clarity to his club, which is 2-5 on the young season.

"We want to come to some conclusion as to where we're at," he said.

Ball State's toughest test of the trip will come against No. 13 Coastal Carolina (5-1) on Sunday and Monday. The Chanticleers have become the gold standard for mid-major baseball programs.

"I have a lot of respect for what they're doing down there," Beals said. "They play a good, clean game of baseball. They're really well disciplined."

Ball State has played Coastal Carolina five times since Beals became head coach at Ball State in 2003. They recently played in 2008, in a trip that right fielder Ryan Chenoweth enjoyed.

"From what I've seen, they've changed a lot of things down there," the senior said. "I'm excited to see what they've been able to do."

Before the Cardinals get to take on the Chanticleers, however, they will play the University of Pittsburgh (5-1) and the University at Albany (0-3). First baseman Ian Nielsen thinks playing different teams in a weekend forces players to focus more.

"It keeps you more focused on the details of the game," he said. "When you're playing a new team, you're really looking for details."

Chenoweth said he likes playing different teams during a weekend.

"You get to see teams from different conferences," he said. "You're seeing different parts of the country, different styles of play."

However, with Spring Break upon Ball State, all the Cardinals really care about is getting a chance to play.

"I'm just looking forward to getting away and playing a lot of ball," Chenoweth said.


Ball State vs. Pitt
Game No. 8
First pitch:
7:30 p.m. Friday
Watson Stadium
Pitching matchup:
RHP Cal Bowling (0-1, 3.12 ERA) vs. RHP Nathan Hood (1-0, 4.26)
Weather: 42 degrees, clear, NNW 5 mph

Ball State vs. Albany
Game No. 9
First pitch:
7 p.m. Saturday
Watson Stadium
Pitching matchup:
RHP Scott Brothers (0-0, 3.86) vs. TBA
Weather: 43 degrees, clear, north 2 mph

Ball State at No. 13 Coastal Carolina
Game No. 10
First pitch:
2 p.m. Sunday
BB&T Coastal Field
Pitching matchup:
RHP Morgan Coombs (1-0, 1.00) vs. LHP Matt Laney (0-0, 8.53)
Weather: 58 degrees, mostly sunny

Ball State at No. 13 Coastal Carolina
Game No. 11
First pitch:
4 p.m. Monday
Watson Stadium
Pitching matchup:
RHP Kolbrin Vitek (0-1, 5.00) vs. LHP Jim Birmingham (2-0, 0.82)
Weather: 66 degrees, sunny