Preview: Baseball looks to continue hot streak against Concordia
Central Michigan sat at 26-10 overall in mid-April, subsequent to a 10-5 conference win against Cornerstone in a game that was moved from Mount Pleasant to Grand Rapids.
The next day, the baseball team was slated to play NAIA Concordia at Theunissen Stadium. The Cardinals, 26-13 at the time, were set for a clash against the Chippewas.
That's until Mother Nature decided there would be no baseball in Mount Pleasant on April 17.
The rain was the winner that day, forcing the programs to postpone the nonconference affair to May 8, again at Theunissen Stadium.
Now, the Chippewas (35-12, 16-5 Mid-American Conference) are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak after defeating Oakland 14-3 at home on May 7. The Cardinals (34-18, 14-8 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) fell out of their conference tournament with two losses (Northwestern Ohio and Indiana Institute of Technology) and have lost three out of their last four games.
Following their final game against the Chippewas, the Cardinals will have to await their fate in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) postseason. CUAA is currently second in the rankings and looks to earn a spot in the NCCAA World Series.
If Concordia is going to end the regular season on a positive note, the Cardinals will have to navigate the Chippewas' dominant pitching staff.
Over the course of its winning streak that dates back to April 26 against Western Michigan, CMU has allowed 21 runs in seven games. The highest being eight runs in the series finale against the Broncos on April 28.
First-year coach Jordan Bischel said that he expects more relief pitchers to face the Cardinals, rather than have a starter hurl into the late innings.
"You'll probably see four guys pitch (against Concordia)," Bischel said. "Each of them getting about one to three innings and get guys who need to get some work in."
The offense has turned on the gas, too.
After scoring 19 runs against Davenport (who scored 26 to take the wild victory on April 23), the Chippewas have scored 53 runs over the winning streak.
Shortly following the victory over Oakland, Bischel said that his team needs to do more of the same if they are going to defeat the Cardinals.
"We have to pitch well and attack the strike zone," he said. "Concordia will be very excited to play us and they're a quality program. I think we'll see some of their best pitchers and it'll be a nice challenge for us going into the weekend."
The forecast for this clash does not look promising. There is rain predicted just before the 4:30 p.m. first pitch.
Should the game not be played, the Chippewas' next matchup would be on the road against Eastern Michigan for a three-game series beginning at 6 p.m. May 10 at Oestrike Stadium.
If the CMU-CUAA matchup is played, first pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. May 8 at Theunissen Stadium.