Central Michigan baseball missed a golden opportunity when it fell flat against Ball State this weekend.
The Chippewas failed to bat in a run after the fifth inning Sunday, which lost the series finale and completed the series sweep by the Cardinals.
With the 5-3 loss to the Cardinals, CMU is now two and a half games behind BSU in the MAC West Division. The Chippewas entered the weekend with a half game lead in the division.
“We were down like this back in 2010 with nine games left when we ended up winning the championship,” coach Steve Jaksa said of the loss.
Freshman pitcher Nick Deeg started on the mound striking out five. However, Deeg walked, loading the bases in the sixth inning, leading to four runs and a CMU pitching change.
The story of the series for CMU was offensive futility. In their game on Saturday, the Chippewas only scored in the eighth and ninth inning. On Friday, they failed to score a single run.
“I don’t think there are any positives (to take away from this series),” Jaksa said.
CMU scored a total of eight runs in three games to BSU’s 19. A series that looked very even on paper turned the two team’s conference standings upside down.
First baseman Cody Leichman batted in a run and had two hits on Sunday. Leichman also made a sliding play to record the final out of the ninth and to prevent a BSU insurance run from scoring.
“I thought we played really well after the three runs (Sunday),” Jaksa said. “MacKenzie, with the bases loaded had a nice 2-2 pitch and hit that really well it just got up in the wind and if it were 15 feet more to the right and it probably goes over the fence.”
In their first two games of the series, CMU managed 12 hits on five runs. With nine conference games left, CMU still has a chance to take the conference, although Ball State controls its own destiny being up two and a half games.
“Is it painful now? sure. Is going 8-1 down the stretch going to be easy? No,” Jaksa said. “But you have to play them one at a time and really focus on the next game. We’re capable of doing that.”