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Falcons look to stay hot in Ball State series

Starting off the season playing 12 of its first 15 games against non-conference opponents, the Falcons baseball team is gearing up to play some familiar faces in the coming weeks.

BG travels to Muncie, Ind. this weekend to play a three-game series against Ball State (9-9), who the Falcons took two out of three against in Steller Field last season, with both wins coming by one run.

Led by a hot lineup, the Falcons’ 12-3 start is the school’s best since 1996. Overall, the team is hitting a Mid-American Conference best .320.

The middle of the lineup has provided much of the spark thanks to the gaudy numbers of Nolan Reimold and the senior leadership of Andy Hudak.

“Reimold is a difference maker and we’re challenging him to get better this year. He and Hudak both have played great and allowed the rest of the lineup to see some better pitches,” said Falcons head coach Danny Schmitz.

Reimold is tops on the team is nearly every offensive category, including a .400 batting average, 7 home runs, 23 runs batted in and a .945 slugging percentage. Hudak, one of three senior captains, has been sizzling at the plate as well, hitting .390 with 3 home runs, 18 RBI and a team-high 23 hits.

Schmitz has seen both players step into leadership roles and, along with remaining captains Kyle Knoblauch and Matt Hundley, he has attributed much of BG’s early success to these players.

“It’s a veteran club this year and anytime you have success, you have good leadership. Our ultimate goal is to get better everyday,” Schmitz said.

The Cardinals have a solid blend of youth and experience that is starting to show positive signs.

Freshman pitcher Ben Snyder was named MAC West Division Pitcher of the Week this week along with being one of six players named “Louisville Slugger” National Player of the Week. Against Oakland Saturday, Snyder pitched his first career shutout while striking out a career-high 14 batters.

Additionally, left fielder Marc Franz was named MAC West Division Player of the Week after hitting .615 (8 for 13) in four games last week. Franz leads the team this season with a .397 batting average and 27 hits. He has also driven in 13 runs.

Senior right-hander Burke Badenhop (4-0, 2.35 earned run average in 23 innings pitched) will pitch the opening game on Friday for BG, while lefty Keith Laughlin (2-1, 3.60 ERA) will go Saturday and Knoblauch (0-0, 5.62 ERA) will pitch the finale on Sunday.

Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday’s games both scheduled for 1 p.m.

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