Baseball earns season sweep of Michigan State
A sweep of Mid-American Conference and in-state rival Eastern Michigan pushed the Central Michigan baseball team's winning streak to 11 games.
It dates back to April 23, a 26-19 loss at home to Davenport.
While the conference regular season hits the home stretch, the Chippewas (40-12, 19-5 MAC) squared off against Michigan State in a nonconference match and earned a season sweep of the home-and-home series against the Spartans (19-31, 7-13 Big Ten Conference).
CMU won the series opener in East Lansing with an 8-6 triumph. This time around, the Chippewas took a 10-2 victory May 14 at Theunissen Stadium, pushing the winning streak to 12 games.
First-year coach Jordan Bischel credited his team for a strong performance, especially the pitching staff. Bischel utilized five different pitchers over the course of the game, starting with senior left-hander Jack Collins. Freshman left-hander Garrett Willis was a focal point of the pitching matchup, striking out four without allowing a run in 3 2/3 innings pitched.
"These mid-week games you get some guys that don't pitch much on the weekends," Bischel said. "Collins has had an up-and-down year and these last couple weeks he's been really sharp. That fed into Willis and a really good performance there."
Willis was credited with the win and pushed his own record to 2-0 on the season with a strong performance over the Spartans.
Senior second baseman Jason Sullivan broke the program's record for career games played, as he appeared in his 227th game. He snapped former teammate Alex Borglin's record of 226 when he played with the Chippewas from 2014-17.
"It's truly a blessing," Sullivan said. "People want to go to the big-time schools where they don't play and just play for the jersey. I wanted to compete for a position my freshman year, it's never truly given to you and you have to keep winning it day in and day out. I'm truly blessed and honored to have that record."
The Chippewas showed strong discipline in the field but most prominently at the plate. In the sixth inning, they had the bases loaded and were able to push across five runs by drawing three straight walks with the bases loaded.
Bischel said that the strong defensive performance helped the offense settle in, and he loves to see his team execute the game plan.
"Being disciplined is important and it's something we work on day in and day out," Bischel said. "The key is to get that big hit and we did that to cash those runs in."
In terms of the streak, Bischel has paid no mind to it. He remained the same following the win over the Spartans.
"I think it's big not to worry about it," he said. "You can't think of trying to win 13 in a row, you have to try to win one more and hit that reset button. Sometimes when you think you have it figured out, it sneaks up on you."
CMU puts its 12-game winning streak and its MAC regular season championship hopes on the line against Miami (OH) at 3 p.m. on May 16 at Theunissen Stadium.
The Chippewas have a two-game lead on Ball State heading into the final weekend.