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Indiana prepares for midweek game vs. Ball State at Victory Field

Indiana baseball will face a familiar foe on Tuesday as the Hoosiers will play Ball State for the second time this season. The Hoosiers won easily by a score of 14-3 in the previous matchup last week.

This time around Indiana won’t be hosting its in-state opponent. The teams will be playing at a neutral site of Victory Field in Indianapolis.

Since the schools last played they both won a conference series on the road over the weekend. Indiana took two of three at Michigan State to improve their record to 27-13. Ball State won two games over the weekend at Miami of Ohio as the Cardinals’ record now stands at 25-14.

Now, let’s take an inside look at what Ball State will bring to the table.

Battle tested 

Despite being a smaller team of the Mid-American Conference and handily beaten in the prior match-up, the Cardinals should not be overlooked. Ball State has played and beaten a fair number of high-major opponents.

Ball State has played eight different opponents of major conferences in either a one-game set or a series. They earned wins over two Big East teams in Butler and Georgetown, a Big Ten School: Purdue, one win over an SEC school: Alabama, and the Cardinals beat Notre Dame of the ACC twice.

The Cardinals also opened their season with a 2-1 loss against the current No. 3 team in the country, Stanford.

Hitting 

In the last matchup, Ball State couldn’t muster much offense. They did put up three runs, but on only five hits for the game.

That isn’t a typical night for the Cardinals. Ball State usually brings some pop to their bats as they average just under seven runs per game as a team.

They have four guys who hit for over a .300 batting average as well. Junior and lead-off man Aaron Simpson is their best bat, followed by junior Ross Messina and senior William Baker.

Simpson has been excellent from the plate all-season as he leads the team with a .360 batting average. In addition, he has walked 24 times, 35 RBIs and three home runs.

Messina, the three-hole hitter for Ball State has been an efficient bat for the Cardinals leading the team in RBIs (40) and doubles (18) while boasting four home runs and a .316 batting average.

Baker hits in the five-spot and is tied with Messina for the second-best batting average on the team at .316. Baker has only brought in 18 RBIs and only one home run on the year but has great plate discipline. The senior has taken 11 walks and has only struck out 15 times in 133 at-bats.

Pitching

The Ball State pitching staff was roughed up just a week ago against the Hoosiers. The Cardinals had to expend six arms and gave up 14 runs as a unit.

The Cardinals’ pitching staff is the weaker component of the team compared to the bats, but their pitching certainly isn’t bad. They have a team average ERA of 4 and average about 10 strikeouts per game.

Like most schools, Ball State uses a number of arms from their bullpen for their midweek games.

Some likely options for the match-up include:

  • Senior, Brendan Burns (23 IP, 23 Ks, 8.61 ERA)
  • Junior, Mike Pachmayer (37 IP, 33 Ks, 4.62 ERA)
  • Senior, Nick Floyd (34 IP, 32 Ks, 2.65 ERA)
  • Freshman, Ty Weatherly (23 IP, 32 Ks, 7.43 ERA)
  • Junior, Lukas Jaksich (20.2 IP, 18 Ks, 4.35 ERA)
  • Sophomore, Kyle Nicolas (34 IP, 55 Ks, 5.03 ERA)

These six arms have been the exact same six pitchers used in Ball State’s last two midweek games.

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