BASEBALL: Cardinals look to rebound from rough start to season

Southesat Missouri State boasts team with experience

After dropping three straight games in its season opening series to Kennesaw State, Ball State (0-3) travels to Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau, Mo. for a three-game weekend series with Southeast Missouri State.

Southeast Missouri State (3-1) of the Ohio Valley Conference is a veteran club, loaded with 25 juniors and seniors, compared to just four seniors for Ball State.

First year coach Alex Marconi said the challenge for his team will be to execute this weekend.

"They're going to swing the bats well," he said. "Our job is to go out there and play our baseball game. It's not to play [Southeast Missouri State's game,] it's to play Ball State baseball. If we do so, we'll be successful."

Junior right-hander Cal Bowling will get the call for Ball State Friday against the Redhawks. In his season debut, Bowling lasted just 4.1 innings, allowed two earned runs on six hits, walked three and fanned two. Bowling will look to stay consistent and get ahead in the count.

Sophomore infielder Stephen Claypool is looking to pick up right where he left off versus Kennesaw State. He collected four hits, including two doubles and a pair of RBIs last weekend.

Junior second baseman Mitch Widau is a former walk-on and has provided a spark for Ball State's offense. Widau hit his first career home run and the first of the season for Ball State on Feb. 18.

The three starting pitchers and the bullpen will need to be sharp this weekend as the Redhawks scored 18 runs in their last four games, and have allowed just seven.

Opposing Bowling is senior left-handed pitcher Jordan Underwood, who is 1-0 with a 2.80 ERA on the season. In his last outing versus Louisiana-Lafayette, Underwood tossed five innings of one-run baseball.

Redshirt junior infielder Taylor Heon has been swinging a hot bat for the Redhawks, compiling three hits, including two doubles and three runs scored.

As Ball State enters its second series of the 2011 season, Marconi said he doesn't know what's going to happen this weekend, but he expects one thing to remain the same.

"Our expectations of our baseball team," he said. "Hard work, execution, confidence and competitiveness."

First pitch between Ball State and Southeast Missouri State is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday.


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