Going through what has been a roller coaster season, Ball State is hoping to maintain the momentum it earned by beating Western Michigan when it faces off against Bowling Green.
Both teams enter the game holding 4-5 records in the Mid-American Conference, although Ball State is in the MAC West and Bowling Green is in the MAC East.
Ball State coach Rich Maloney said he thinks the Western division is still up for grabs and wants his team to take advantage.
He thinks the competitive balance for Midwest teams is fairly equal, and he likes his team’s chances against Bowling Green.
“The way that most of the teams are in the Midwest right now, it’s probably 50-50 for any team winning any game,” Maloney said. “Most teams have around .500 or sub .500 records right now.”
Maloney is correct, especially when it comes to the MAC. Ball State’s 14-14 overall record is the overall best in the West, although it can be skewed because of strength of schedule.
Bowling Green’s overall record sits at 7-19 and was swept by a Western Michigan team that Ball State just achieved a 2-1 series victory against.
Ball State learned the hard way last week that records don’t tell the entire story. The team lost to 4-24 Northern Kentucky in one of its most intense games of the season.
Being a midweek game, Maloney expects there to be a lot of pitching changes going around. Once again, Ball State’s starter isn’t expected to go more than a few innings at most, and Maloney didn’t disclose who would be starting.
“We’re both going to be pitching guys who aren’t weekend pitchers, so you don’t know from game to game what you’re going to get,” Maloney said. “If we knew what we were going to get, they’d be weekend pitchers.”
Ball State’s pitching staff will be throwing to batters who have struggled this season.
The Falcons bring just three batters to the plate who are hitting over .265 this season, and are averaging just over four runs per game.
Patrick Lancaster and T.J. Losby lead Bowling Green with batting averages of .305 and .302, and have knocked in 27 of the teams 110 runs.
Backing up the batters for Bowling Green on Tuesday could be Ethan McKenney. McKenney hasn’t started a game all season, but has thrown 20 innings in relief, making him a possible candidate to be a spot starter.
If he starts, Ball State needs to be ready, as he’s currently pushing a 1.33 ERA, giving up just three earned runs and three walks while striking out 15.
The Cardinals’ best shot to break through the Falcons pitching will be Kevin Schlotter and Billy Wellman.
Batting .340 and .326, they’ve been key cogs to Ball State’s offense and have both gotten crucial hits that led to wins this season.
“Coming out of the weekend series, our guys have a lot of confidence,” Maloney said. “Now can that confidence continue against Bowling Green’s pitchers and batters, that’s going to be important.”