Softball heads to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend to participate in the Hoosier Classic after a packed spring break schedule.
The Chippewas face off against familiar teams in Indiana University, Michigan State, Toledo, Wright State and the University of Illinois-Chicago. CMU will play in five games over the weekend, starting today with games against UIC and Indiana.
Over the break, the team played in 13 games in two tournaments, finishing 8-5. It opened the weekend 4-1, but was slightly inconsistent toward the end of the tournament, going 4-4 over the remainder of the break.
“I thought sometimes we looked really good and sometimes we didn’t,” said head coach Margo Jonker. “One of our goals was to improve our fielding average from New Mexico to Florida, and we did significantly better. Our hitting needed to improve, and we did that, so segments of the game improved, but we still need to get a lot better.”
Two Chippewa pitchers were awarded the title of Mid-American Conference West Division Pitcher of the Week in back-to-back weekends.
Junior Kristen Kuhlman led the Chippewas to a 4-1 record over the opening weekend at the USF Tournament, earning a 2-0 record with a save. Kuhlman gave up only one run the first weekend, surrendering three hits with five strikeouts over 8.1 innings.
“It’s huge that they won that,” Jonker said. “For Kristen, certainly a huge outing for her; it’s the first time she’s ever won something like that, and, as a relief pitcher, you often don’t get those type of awards.”
Junior Morgan Yuncker won the following weekend, going 2-0 after two complete games. In 12 innings, Yuncker finished the weekend with a 1.50 ERA and gave up only seven hits. On the season, she has surrendered four earned runs with a team-best ERA of 1.74.
CMU has been hot at the plate lately, outscoring opponents by 18 runs over spring break. If the Chippewas keep their bats on the ball, it will be tough for opponents to overcome the offensive productivity.
However, it will all depend on the caliber of pitchers they are facing and how quickly they can adjust to changing conditions.
“I think we have a number of talented offensive players, so it’s a matter of how aggressive we are at the plate,” Jonker said. “We need to be aggressive and have good pitch selection at the same time.”