What's On Tap . . .
Ball State closes out the 2012 regular season this week with a three-game series in DeKalb, Ill., against the Northern Illinois Huskies ... The series runs Thursday-Saturday with all three games at Ralph McKinzie Field ... Thursday and Friday's games will start at 3 p.m. (CT), while Saturday's game will be at 1 p.m. (CT) ... Live stats will be available at www.ballstatesports.com courtesy of Northern Illinois.
Probable Starting Pitchers . . .
Ball State will send three right-handers to the hill this weekend in sophomore T.J. Weir Thursday, junior Chris Marangon Friday and senior Cal Bowling Saturday ... Northern Illinois will counter with right-hander Taylor Nawrocki Friday, left-hander Jake Hermsen Friday and right-hander Tony Manville Saturday.
Weir will be making his 14th appearance and his team-leading 13th start of the season Thursday ... He has a 2-9 record with a 5.96 ERA in 68.0 innings of work, while striking out 54 and walking just 22 ... Last weekend, he picked up the loss at Central Michigan working 6.0 innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits while striking out four.
Marangon will be making his 19th appearance and ninth start of the season Friday ... He has a 1-7 record with a 4.02 ERA in 62.2 innings of work while striking out 33 and walking 25 ... Last weekend, he allowed four runs on nine hits in just 3.1 innings, while striking out six batters.
Bowling will be making his 13th appearance and 10th start of th season ... He has a 3-3 record with a 4.10 ERA in 68.0 innings as he has struck out 62 and walked just 18 ... Last weekend, he made his first start since April 6 due to an injury and allowed six runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings, while striking out six.
Nawrocki will be making his 15th appearance and 13th start of the season Thursday ... He has a 4-6 record with a 5.19 ERA in 78.0 innings as he has struck out 50 while walking 39 ... Last weekend against Western Michigan, he lasted just 1.2 innings and allowed 10 runs, three earned, on eight hits in the loss.
Hermsen will be making his 15th appearance and 14th start of the season Friday ... He has a 3-7 record with a 5.11 ERA in 81.0 innings as he has struck out 66 while walkin 39 ... He was charged with the loss last weekend when he allowed five runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings against WMU.
Manville will be making his 14th start of the season Saturday in the regular season finale ... He has a 2-8 record with a 5.75 ERA in 76.2 innings of work as he has struck out 33 while walking 25 ... He picked up the loss last weekend allowing four runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings as he walked three batters.
Series History . . .
Ball State and Northern Illinois have met 68 times prior to this weekend with the Cardinals holding a 37-30-1 record all-time against the Huskies ... This marks the second straight season the Cardinals have travelled to NIU as they dropped two out of three last year in DeKalb ... Northern Illinois opened the series with a 10-9 victory before Ball State evened the series with a 13-7 win ... The Huskies claimed the series win with an 18-8 victory Sunday ... Prior to last year, the Cardinals had posted six straight wins with sweeps in 2009 and 2010.
Former Cardinal T.J. Baumet led the team offensively with a .583 batting average on the weekend, including four doubles and a home run ... T.J. Weir added a double, triple and home run in two games ... Northern Illinois was led by Alex Jones' six hits and Troy White's nine RBI on the weekend.
Coaching Comparison . . .
Ball State head coach Alex Marconi enters his second season at the helm ... Marconi posted a 15-35 record last year after working for five years as an assistant coach for BSU under former head coach Greg Beals (Ohio State).
Northern Illinois is led by 10-year head coach Ed Mathey ... He owns a 255-298-1 record during his career as the all-time coaching victories leader at Northern Illinois.
Scouting The Cardinals . . .
Ball State enters the weekend with an 11-36 overall record and a 6-18 mark in Mid-American Conference play ... The Cardinals have dropped 10 straight games and have been eliminated from contention for the 2012 MAC Tournament ... Ball State has scored 179 runs (3.81 runs/game) while batting .239 as a team ... Opponents have scored 344 runs (7.32 runs/game) and are batting .305 as a team.
Junior Wes Winkle leads the team with a .287 batting average ... Winkle leads the team with 50 hits and 24 runs scored, while placing second with 10 stolen bases ... Sophomore Sean Godfrey is second on the team with a .284 batting average, including a team-high .360 mark in MAC play ... Redshirt sophomore Billy Wellman is tied for the team lead with 23 RBI, while leading the team with four home runs ... Wellman has a .322 batting average in 25 games, including 20 starts.
In the bullpen, left-hander Devin Wilburn leads the team with 19 appearances ... Wilburn has a 5.55 ERA in 24.1 innings as he has struck out 22 and walked 16 ... Fellow southpaw Jon Cisna is second on the team with 17 appearances ... He has a 7.45 ERA in 19.1 innings of work ... Left-hander Matt Johnsen has a 2.40 ERA in 15.0 innings as he has struck out 14 batters.
Scouting The Huskies . . .
Northern Illinois enters the weekend with a 15-37 overall record and a 7-17 mark in Mid-American Conference play ... The Huskies have not been eliminated from MAC Tournament play, but will need a three-game sweep and help throughout the conference to claim the eighth seed ... Northern Illinois has dropped six straight MAC games with sweeps against Western Michigan and Central Michigan ... The Huskies have scored 233 runs (4.48 runs/game) and are batting .254 as a team ... Opponents have scored 371 runs (7.13 runs/game) and are batting .309 as a team.
Alex Jones leads the team with a .318 batting average ... Jones has a team-high 63 hits, 32 runs scored and 19 doubles ... Troy White is third on the team with a .293 batting average and leads the team with 38 RBI ... Jeff Zimmerman has hit a team-high six home runs while the Huskies have four players with at least three home runs apiece.
In the bullpen, Kyle Glancy leads the team with 29 appearances and 11 saves ... Glancy has a 7.89 ERA in 29.2 innings as he has struck out 29 batters ... Zach Badgley has appeared in 21 games and has a 4.50 ERA in 22.0 innings of work.