Baseball looks ahead to pivotal Kent State series


Sophomore outfielder Dazon Cole dives back to first during the game against Western Michigan University on April 16 at Theunissen Stadium.

The favorite to win the Mid-American Conference may be decided this weekend in a three-game series with the Central Michigan baseball team and Kent State. 

CMU sits atop the MAC West Division with a 10-2 record in conference play. CMU hasn't lost two of three games in a weekend series since March 11 against the University of Central Florida. The Chippewas are riding a two-game win streak and look forward to the matchup with KSU.

Kent State is atop the MAC East Division with an 10-2 record in MAC play. KSU has a five-win lead in the East division with Ohio and Bowling Green who both have five conference wins so far. KSU is also on a six-game win streak having faced Toledo, Youngstown State, Pittsburgh and Bowling Green. 

Kent State leads the MAC in batting and pitching. Led by Luke Burch, Kent State has a .307 team batting average and 3.79 earned run average. 

"You have to make sure your intensity level is solid all the way through the game," head coach Steve Jaksa said. "You have to make sure that you are tuned in right from the get-go and play the way that we know we can for the whole game."

Fans can expect the same weekend starters this weekend on the mound for CMU. Tyler Hankins, Dazon Cole and Pat Leatherman are all expected to get a start this weekend. On Wednesday against Oakland, Michael Brettell and Colton Bradley were both on pitch counts, so they will also be available this weekend if needed.

Daniel Robinson and Alex Borglin lead the MAC with 35 runs scored, and Robinson leads the MAC with 17 stolen bases.

Closing pitcher Colton Bradley is second in the MAC with seven saves so far this season.

Following the Kent State series, CMU will only have three more conference series left against Northern Illinois, Ball State and Toledo.

Game One in the three-game series at Kent State starts at 3 p.m. at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio.