Baseball battles Bowling Green in three-game MAC series

CMU shows their respect for Oakland after a 16-3 win at the Clash at Comerica game on April 25 in Comerica Park.

Following back-to-back nonconference wins against Oakland, including one at Comerica Park, the Central Michigan baseball can carry momentum in Mid-American Conference play against Bowling Green. 

The Chippewas (16-23-1, 8-7 MAC) entertain the Falcons (10-26, 5-8 MAC) at Keilitz Field in Theunissen Stadium from April 27-29. The three games start at 3:05 p.m., 2:05 p.m. and 1:05 p.m., respectively. 

“We will be fine against anybody as long as we play the way we are supposed to play,” said CMU head coach Steve Jaksa. “It’s not about what they do against us, it’s about we prepare against them.” 

CMU struggled in MAC play last weekend, losing two-of-three games to Western Michigan in Kalamazoo. Bowling Green has also had its fair share of struggles, losing eight of the last 10 games.

Chippewas head coach Steve Jaksa and pitching coach Jeff Opalewski have decided to start junior right-hander Patrick Leatherman (2-5, 3.56 ERA) on April 27, junior righty Michael Brettell (4-4, 4.90 ERA) on April 28 and sophomore left-hander Tyler Hankins (2-5, 4.68 ERA) on April 29. 

“(Brettell) has been pretty good,” Jaksa said. “Some of it is confidence, but he has a good feel for what works for him. We keep it to a simplified game plan for him because it doesn’t have to be complicated. He has figured it out.”  

Over the course of CMU’s last 10 games, sophomore outfielder Zach Gilles is hitting .417 with seven RBIs. Along with Gilles, three other Chippewa players are hitting over .300, including sophomore infielder Zach Heeke at .345, junior outfielder Jacob Crum at .342 and Griffin Lockwood-Powell at .313.

Crum is tied for second in the MAC with three triples. 

Junior outfielder Daniel Robinson hit a home run to the eighth row in the right field seats at Comerica on April 25 in. a 16-3 win against Oakland. He finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs, one walk, one strikeout and one stolen base. 

“I’ve played here five total times and it’s the first time I’ve been able to get one out,” Robinson said. “I’m grateful.

“It’s pretty cool to hit one where (the Detroit Tigers) hit home runs. I have to give credit to my coaches for hammering down our approach and working with us so much.”

Robinson, at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, has five doubles, one triple, two home runs and a team-high 25 RBIs, along with a .228 batting average on the season. 

"He was on time, he's capable of doing that," Jaksa said. "You don't have to do anything special, you just have to put a good swing on it and that's what he did.”

Bowling Green is led by redshirt sophomore infielder Ty Suntken, who is hitting .379 at the plate. The other player impressing is junior infielder Randy Righter with a .309 batting average and a team-high 21 RBIs. 

The Falcons are 4-19 on the road this season. The Chippewas took two-of-three from Bowling Green in Ohio last season. 

Up Next

Following a three-game series against Bowling Green, CMU remains at home to play Eastern Michigan from May 4-6. Then, the Chippewas take on the University of Michigan at 4:05 p.m. on May 8 at Theunissen Stadium. 

Central Michigan is tied for third in the MAC standings with Eastern Michigan and Toledo. The top six teams receive a trip to the league tournament. Bowling Green is in ninth place.