Baseball opens home MAC schedule vs. Ohio

The CMU baseball team has emphasized the importance of winning at home.

For the first time in more than two weeks, the Chippewas return home to Theunissen Stadium at 3 p.m. today to begin a three-game series against Mid-American Conference opponent Ohio.

“We think it’s nice that we’re able to come home,” said coach Steve Jaksa. “We’ve tried to emphasize to the guys the importance of protecting our home turf. Everybody loves coming to play in our venue — they understand our tradition and history.”

CMU (11-10, 2-1 MAC) will start senior right-hander Jesse Hernandez (3-1, 4.45 ERA) in Game 1. Hernandez allowed two runs, zero earned, in seven innings pitched in CMU’s 5-2 win against Miami (OH) last Friday.

Sophomore Rick Dodridge and junior Jake Sabol are slated to start Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Ohio (3-18, 1-2 MAC) comes in having lost 10 of its last 11 games. The Bobcats rank ninth in the conference in team batting average (.267) and ERA (7.08).

“They’re going to play well and we have to be ready to go,” Jaksa said. “I look at it as the conference just started and maybe they went through their struggles early. Our job is to make sure that we go out there and get after them early to make sure they don’t gain any confidence or get any traction during the period of time they’re here.”

OU took two out of three games in the past two season series.

“(OU coach) Joe Carbone has been there for a long time and has been here a lot of times,” Jaksa said. “He understands and will have his guys ready to go. We have to understand that just because we’re playing at home doesn’t mean they put more runs on the board (for us).”


Despite getting 10 runs off 14 hits, CMU allowed Michigan State to score seven runs in the third inning in a 13-10 loss Wednesday at Cooley Stadium in Lansing.

A close play at second base, infield errors, a bunt and bloop single down the left-field line allowed the Spartans to prolong the inning and build a lead CMU could not combat.

“Those were four big plays right in a row and all went against us and led to a big inning,” Jaksa said. “Any one of those plays would’ve cut that inning in half, which would’ve been a significant decrease.”

Sophomore Sam Russell led the Chippewas offensively, going 3-for-5 with three runs batted in and three runs scored.

“They did a good job of getting ahead of counts and laying off off-speed pitches and getting fast balls up in the zone that they could drive,” Russell said. “They kept coming at us and never let up.”

Junior left-hander Matt Faiman took the loss, allowing four runs in two innings.

CMU made a late-game rally, scoring four runs in the last two innings, but it was not enough to overcome MSU’s early lead.

“It’s good to get back into MAC play, coming off last weekend when we took two out of three,” Russell said. “We want to do the same thing — come out strong and play as hard as we can. Every MAC game is crucial, whether it’s at the beginning of the season or the end.”