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Kentucky Wildcats vs. Ball State Cardinals baseball preview

The Cards open up their year by traveling to Wilmington, NC to take on traditional SEC power Kentucky.

Zach Pleasc
Zach Pleasc
Ball State Photo Services

The wait is drawing to a close.

By noon on Friday, Ball State will unveil their 2015 squad and sending them into what will be sure to be a tough outing versus the Kentucky Wildcats at the Buffalo Wild Wings Battle at the Beach.

Kentucky comes from a conference, the SEC, where no team is a pushover. Last year, the Cats finished 37-25, making it four games deep into the double-elimination SEC tournament after a sub-.500 record over the course of their conference season.

Their 35-23 regular season record was enough to grant Kentucky a spot in the NCAA regionals, despite the previously mentioned 14-16 mark in SEC play. They also were allotted a spot in the Louisville regional, getting to play with the advantage of their home fans. Kentucky would split their four games in the regional, drawing in a pair of games versus Kansas, defeating MAC tournament champions Kent State and losing to Louisville in a make-or-break game.

This season, the Wildcats are losing their top player, first baseman and Terre Haute native AJ Reed. UK's top returner at the plate is junior outfielder/second baseman Tom Ka'ai. Ka'ai played in 54 games and hit .328, using his ability at the plate to get onto base. He did so 67 times, with only 16 of the hits going for more than a single.

Kentucky will be putting a brand new pitcher on the mound for Friday's outing; giving RHP Dustin Beggs a chance to shine right out of the gates.

The Cards won't be surprising anyone with who they put on the mound, with sophomore ace Zach Plesac getting the season opening start. The righty out of Crown Point, Indiana finished with high marks a year ago, becoming the MAC's Freshman Pitcher of the Year, as well as making room on the mantle for several national all-freshman player awards. His ERA was a staggering 2.11 and he claimed a 12-2 record over the course of last year.

Connor Onion will be doing the play-by-play that can be heard on BallStateSports.com. FOX Sports Radio in Lexington will also be on the scene, and you can listen here.

Ball State Softball Update:

The team finished up a season-opening tournament in Nashville back on Sunday, where they only lost once, which was a close 6-5 decision against the MVC's Indiana State Sycamores. Two of the Cards' three wins needed more than seven innings, while their Sunday victory over Lipscomb only needed six, as BSU lead 14-2 by the time the inning finished.

This weekend the Cards will be in Alabama to take part in Auburn's Tiger Invitational. A double-header on Friday will include match ups against Georgia State and Auburn, while on Saturday the Cards will be playing twice again, this time versus Mercer and Winthrop. Sunday's game will be a morning affair with Eastern Illinois.

All the action can be heard on BallStateSports.com as well, including Friday afternoon's matchup versus host and seventeenth-ranked Auburn.