Baseball looks to correct slow starts
Slow starts have become common as of late for the CMU baseball team.
It hopes to break that pattern this weekend.
CMU (18-12, 8-1 Mid-American Conference) travels to Ohio at 3 p.m. today to open a three-game series with Kent State, which sits at the top of the MAC East Division at 6- 3 in the conference.
The Chippewas look to score first this weekend. After falling behind early in each game of the series against Akron last weekend, CMU won all three with late-game heroics.
Their luck, however, ran out Wednesday, when they were unable make it four in a row and come back from an early 4-0 deficit against Illinois-Chicago. The team lost 5-3.
“It’s a new weekend,” said coach Steve Jaksa. “We’re going to start off 0-0. We always want to get ahead. We always want to get out to leads and make them come and catch us.”
Senior right-hander Jesse Hernandez (4-1, 3.74 ERA) gets the start in Game 1. He comes off a no-decision in CMU’s 10-6 win against Akron on April 9, where he allowed six runs, three earned, on 11 hits in 6 and 1/3 innings pitched.
Sophomore left-hander Rick Dodridge (3-1, 2.91 ERA) and senior Jake Sabol (3-3, 4.61 ERA) are expected to start Games 2 and 3, respectively.
“It’s really important to start strong,” said senior Dale Cornstubble. “We’ve been starting out slowly and we’ve got to get better at that.”
Kent State comes in 19-16 overall, having won eight of its last nine games. The Golden Flashes rank fourth in the MAC in batting average (.322) and third in pitching (3.86 ERA).
“If we can get on top early and Jesse (can) put up zeros, it will allow us to distance ourselves a little bit,” Jaksa said. “We’re playing a team that’s used to being on the top and we want to stay on top, so someone’s got to give.”
CMU lost 5-3 against Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday at Les Miller Field in Chicago.
UIC scored four runs in the first two innings, putting the Chippewas in another early-game hole. CMU responded with runs in fourth and sixth innings to cut the Flames’ lead to two.
A home run by senior James Teas cut the lead to 4-3, but UIC combated the comeback effort and scored a run in the eighth to extend its lead and solidify the win.
“In the second inning, we had Will Arnold with the bases loaded, and he hit a line-shot to the shortstop, but he was able to catch it,” Jaksa said. “If that was just five feet either way of him, we’re tied up and the inning’s still going.”
CMU had an opportunity late in the ninth with two runners on and Cornstubble up to bat, but the he hit into a double play to end the game.
“There’s no doubt there was a feeling we had them (there),” Cornstubble said. “We have to play our best game Friday, and bounce back and take a couple from Kent State this weekend.”