Ball State baseball returns home this weekend to host a three-game series against Miami.
The Redhawks will come to Muncie boasting a 17-9 (6-3 MAC) record to sit atop the Mid-American Conference rankings. Coming off a win over Purdue on Tuesday, Ball State enters the weekend a game over .500 at 16-15 (4-5 MAC).
“Miami’s in first place and they have great pitching and gets lots of steals,” head coach Rich Maloney said. “They’re very aggressive and we’re going to have to play really well and solid.”
The Redhawk pitching staff is going to challenge the Cardinals this weekend. Spencer Mraz leads the rotation with a 1.02 ERA and a 3-0 record. The right-handed sophomore went a career-high seven scoreless innings in his last start and notched four strikeouts while walking none, to get the win over Bowling Green.
Senior righty Gus Graham is also undefeated on the season with a pair of wins and a 3.63 ERA.
On the other side, Ball State has a pair of undefeated pitchers in Drey Jameson (2-0) and Nick Floyd (4-0). Jameson, the right-handed freshman, was named the Mid-American Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Week on April 9.
Aside from the pitcher’s duel that is favored to take place, Maloney knows his team has to perform well on the field and at the plate.
“We have to throw strikes and make routine plays,” Maloney said. “We have to try to barrel up as many balls as we can and hit the ball hard.”
Junior Chase Sebby and redshirt senior Jeff Riedel lead Ball State’s bats on the stat sheet so far, this season. Sebby holds a .328 batting average with 20 hits and five RBIs, and Riedel holds a .308 batting average with 33 hits and 18 RBIs.
Off the Cardinals bench, Noah Powell is sitting at a .302 batting average with 19 hits, two home runs and 11 RBIs. Powell served as the decision maker in Tuesday’s victory over Purdue, hitting a leadoff home run in the top of the sixth inning to propel the team to a win.
“Noah has given the team a good lift,” Maloney said. “He won the shortstop job with grit and he’s given us a lot of great opportunities.”
The first pitch of the series is set for 3 p.m. on Friday at First Merchants Ball Park.