Baseball picked to finish fourth in 2019 MAC standings


Members of the baseball team sit in the dugout and watch the seventh inning of the game against Kent State at Keilitz Field on April 7. During the seventh inning, Kent State made eight runs.

Despite new leadership and losing a trio of star players, the Central Michigan baseball team was selected on Feb. 13 by the 10 head coaches of Mid-American Conference to finish fourth in the 2019 standings.

CMU finished 16-11 in MAC play a season ago, earning fourth place in the 2018 standings. Overall, the Chippewas finished 25-28-1. 

The complete 2019 MAC Preseason Coaches Poll:

1. Kent State – 98 points   
2. Ball State – 88 
3. Miami (OH) – 78  
4. Central Michigan – 53
5. Toledo – 51  
6. Ohio – 49
7. Eastern Michigan – 45
8. Western Michigan – 42 
9. Northern Illinois – 29
10. Bowling Green -- 17

KSU received eight of the first place votes. Miami and Northern Illinois each received one first place vote as the only other teams to get one. 

The Golden Flashes won the 2018 regular season title by going 19-8 in league play. KSU finished with 40 overall wins after winning the MAC Tournament and making an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Regional in Lubbock, Texas. 

As for the Chippewas, following the 2018 season former head coach Steve Jaksa retired after 25 years with the program. Taking is place is Jordan Bischel who was formerly with Northwood University.

Three key players Bischel is tasked with replacing is Dazon Cole, Michael Brettell and Daniel Robinson who all left the program early to pursue professional careers.

The Chippewas do return a veteran starting pitching staff led by senior right-hander Pat Leatherman. He is followed by three juniors — left-hander Tyler Hankins and a pair of right-handers in Zach Kohn and Cameron Brown.

In the field, CMU returns outfielders junior Zach Gilles and senior Jacob Crum, senior catcher Blake Cleveland and infielders junior Zach Heeke, sophomore Zavier Warren and senior Jason Sullivan.

The Chippewas open the season this weekend starting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15 against Troy in Alabama.