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Ball State resumes conference play, hosts Miami

Two days removed from a 6-5, 15-inning loss at Indiana, its longest game since April 24, 2004, Ball State (5-20, 1-5) will take the field on short rest, playing host to Mid-American Conference member Miami.

At 3 p.m. today, the Cardinals will be playing their sixth game in the last eight days. Four of their last five have gone to extra innings. In all, the Cardinals have played a grand total of 55 innings over the past five games.

Despite all the extra play and invaluable experience his young team is getting, coach Alex Marconi believes his team isn’t too worn out.

“I think we’ve overextended some guys on the mound a little bit and that’s the thing we have to be careful with about this weekend,” Marconi said. “Other than that, I think we’ve done a good job preparing them to be in pretty good shape.”

Over their past two games, a 7-6, 10-inning win over Indiana Tech on Tuesday and Wednesday’s loss, the Cardinals’ bullpen has worked a combined 16 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on 13 hits. The bullpen couldn’t be happier to have senior right-hander and ace Cal Bowling on the hill in the series opener. Last season, Bowling tossed a four-hit, complete game at Miami, and the righty will look for a repeat performance this time around.

The Redhawks can certainly handle the bats, hitting a collective .306. But pitching and field have hurt them this season. The Redhawks own a 5.65 ERA as a staff, and have made 47 errors, fifth most in the conference.

“They’re struggling a little bit defensively,” Marconi said. “They’re struggling a little bit on the mound. We’re going to have to pitch well and take advantage of their pitching staff this weekend.”

Starting Lineups

Miami

Ryan Brenner, 2b

Matt Honchel, LF

Bryce Redeker, RF

Kevin Bower, 1b

John Crummy, C

Max Andresen, DH

Scott Slappey, SS

Dan Wash, 3b

Ryan Curl, CF

Ball State

Wes Winkle, CF

Mitch Widau, 2b

T.J. Weir, SS

Cody Campbell, 1b

Sean Godfrey, RF

Blake Beemer, LF

Brandon Estep, DH

Elbert Devarie, 3b

Mitch Overley, C