CMU looks to take home a MAC title from Ypsilanti
The Central Michigan softball team has won nine of its last ten games, including a sweep of Ball State (29-24 overall, 13-8 Mid-American Conference) which put CMU (34-13, 16-5) in sole possession of first place in the MAC West division standings.
Now the Chippewas find themselves with three games left this weekend, in control of their own destiny.
With a win in any of their final three regular season games against Eastern Michigan (17-32, 3-18) in Ypsilanti starting Saturday at 1 p.m., the Chippewas will have their first MAC West title since 2008. CMU also holds a two-game lead over MAC East leading Ohio (33-14, 14-7) for the overall best MAC record.
“We’ve done a good job of taking it just one game at a time all season, and that is what we have to do this weekend,” head coach Margo Jonker said. “I don’t care what Eastern Michigan’s record is, it’s a long travel and we need to come ready to play which I would expect this bunch to do.”
A big part of their success this season has been because of senior pitcher Rachael Knapp, who has notched the win in 20 of CMU’s 34 wins this season. The St. Joseph native has 1.30 earned run average and is holding opposing hitters to a .187 batting average, which are both tied for second in the MAC, along with her 20 wins being tied for first place.
Knapp said that the team will come prepared as usual and just play “Central Michigan softball”.
“We have done it all season long, and there is no reason to change it now, we just need to do what we do and take the next game as the most important,” Knapp said. “Everyone on this team knows that is the way to do it.”
Expect to see Knapp and junior pitcher Hanna Warren who has also put together a respectable season, posting an 11-5 record with a 2.47 ERA to go along with it.
On offense, its sophomore center fielder Allison Curtis who continues to lead the way in the batting average slot, totaling a .388 mark in 47 games this season. Junior catcher Maison Kalina is right behind her at .355 in 45 contests.
Sophomore infielder Rachel Vieira leads the team in runs batted in (26) and is tied with sophomore first baseman Erika Underwood for the most home runs on the team at five.
The Eagles have two players in particular who lead their offense, starting with senior outfielder Michelle Kriegshauser. The New Lenox, Illinois native leads her squad in batting average (.368), runs scored (33) and RBI (24) in 48 games. Senior catcher Taylor Wagner is right behind her with a .350 batting average, 13 runs scored, and 12 RBI in 49 games.
In the circle, no pitcher in EMU’s squad has an ERA under four, averaging out to a 4.61 ERA. Junior pitcher Trisha Trujillo leads the team with eight wins and 4.02 ERA.
EMU is on a recent winning streak of two games, but before those two victories had lost seven games in a row. Overall, they are just 2-8 at home this season.
After Saturday's double header, the series finale will begin on Sunday at 1 p.m. to wrap up both teams season.