Western Michigan dealing

Western Michigan entered today’s contest owning the second to last team batting average in the Mid-American Conference, .250. Through the game’s first four innings, it’s been all Broncos.

Western Michigan pounded out seven more runs in the fourth, adding to their lead, which is now 13-0. Troy Forton and Ryan McMillin are a combined 5-for-6, with two home runs, six RBIs and six runs scored for the Broncos. In all, 12 men came to the plate for the Broncos in the fourth inning.

Morgan Coombs was lifted after giving up a lead off single to open up the fourth inning. Coombs lasted just three innings, allowing six runs, two of which were earned on five hits.

Freshman Jacob Brewer came on in relief for Ball State, but was lit up by the Broncos. Brewer recorded just two outs and yielded four runs in his brief appearance.

The last eight Ball State hitters have been retired in order by Western Michigan. The Cardinals have just two hits thus far. Broncos lead 13-0 after five innings of play.

***

The aftershock of last weekend’s sweep versus Eastern Michigan appears to have carried over to this weekend for Ball State. Western Michigan’s Ryan McMillin tagged fifth-year senior Morgan Coombs for a two-run home run in the second inning and a three-run shot in the third. McMillin has two home runs and five RBIs thus far.

Coombs has allowed six runs, two of which were earned in three innings of work for Ball State.

The Cardinals ran themselves out of the third, stranding runners on first and third with only one out.

Western Michigan leads 6-0 after three innings of play.

***

Fifth-year senior Morgan Coombs breezed through the first inning, retiring the Broncos in order. However, the righty served up a two-run home run in the second off the bat of junior third baseman Ryan McMillin. The blast was the second of the season for McMillin.

Western Michigan leads Ball State 2-0 after two innings of play.

***

After being swept by Eastern Michigan last weekend, Ball State (12-18, 8-9) will host pivotal series at Ball Diamond versus Mid-American Conference West division foe Western Michigan (19-25, 7-11) beginning this afternoon.

The Cardinals currently sit in the final spot for the 2011 Mid-American Conference Tournament, and own a half game lead over the Broncos.

Despite a poor performance last weekend, coach Alex Marconi said his team is revamped for this weekend’s showdown with the Broncos.

“They had no choice but to get rid of that last weekend pretty quickly, because they’ve got something equally important ahead of them, which were [finals] this week and another very important weekend for us coming up,” Marconi said.

After junior righty Cal Bowling experienced inflammation in his back, Marconi tweaked his starting rotation for this weekend’s series.

Fifth-year senior Morgan Coombs will get the start in game one for Ball State. Coombs, a six-foot-one righty, is 4-3, with a a 3.80 ERA this season for the Cardinals. Today marks Coombs’s eighth start of the season. Last weekend Coombs worked seven strong innings for Ball State, allowing just three earned runs.

Bowling will make his 12th start of the season on Saturday. Bowling is 4-4, with a 3.26 ERA and has tossed a team-high 69 innings.

At the plate, Ball State is led by junior center fielder Cody Elliott, who owns a team-high .319 batting average, including a .370 mark in conference play. Elliott, who has also been used out of the bullpen by Marconi this season, also leads the Cardinals in hits (52), RBI (29), runs (25), doubles (10), triples (5) and stolen bases (13).

First pitch is set for 3 p.m. this afternoon.

Lineups:

Western Michigan

Martinez, 7

Duncan, 6

Scanlon, 9

Forton, 3

McMillin 5

Cross, dh

Thoma, 4

Booker 8

Ball State

Elliott, 8

Baumet, 6

Widau, 4

Mahala, 3

Beemer, 9

Issler, 5

Godfrey, dh

Overley, 2

K. Campbell, 7

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