Baseball plays MSU at Dow Diamond

The CMU baseball faces in-state rival Michigan State at 6:35 p.m. today at Midland’s Dow Diamond for its second of three meetings this season.

It is the second time in as many years CMU and MSU will play at the neutral location, which is home to the Great Lakes Loons, the single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Chippewas lost the first meeting between the teams, 13-10, on March 31 at MSU. Coach Steve Jaksa labeled it a big game, despite it not being a part of Mid-American Conference play.

“I would think that these guys consider this a big game from the standpoint that it is an in-state rival,” he said. “They are not in our conference, so it is a different type of rival — it is an opportunity for our guys to play in a different venue, and we do look forward to it. I think it’s good for college baseball and for the state of Michigan.”

Junior Bryce Morrow (1-2, 7.71 earned run average) will start for CMU Thursday. He will likely face MSU freshman Andrew Waszak (3-0, 7.67 ERA). Morrow took the loss last Wednesday against Illinois-Chicago, pitching six innings and allowing four earned runs. Waszak started last Wednesday against Western Michigan, giving up seven earned runs in 1 and 1/3 innings pitched.

The team (20-13, 10-2 Mid-American Conference) is in sole possession of first place in the MAC and is 9-3 since the last time it faced MSU.

The Spartans are 23-9, but have lost four out of their last five.

“At the end of the day, you want to get a win, but I think there is a lot more in there, too,” Jaksa said. “You want to put your best foot forward and let the fans see what both teams have to offer. It’s just a little bit different and it’s nice.”

After losing 20-3 to MSU on the road, the Chippewas won the last two meetings last season. A 7-6 victory at Dow Diamond and a 9-8 win in extra innings at Theunissen Stadium gave the Chippewas a season-series win over the Spartans.

Both teams agreed to play each other three times — one home game each and one game played at a neutral sight. The three-game season series approach started last year.

And the game has even more appeal to it since it is being played at a professional ball park, said senior catcher Dale Cornstubble.

“In the past, we have been successful against them,” he said. “We definitely get amped up for the game and we are definitely looking to take one from them, especially at Dow Diamond.”

CMU then looks to a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup against the MAC’s second-place team in Ball State, just one game behind the Chippewas at 9-3 in the West Division. The two teams play a three-game series starting 3 p.m. Friday at Theunissen Stadium.