Top outfielder Jacob Crum day-to-day as Chippewas prepare for NCAA Tournament

Central Michigan outfielder Jacob Crum celebrates a Mid-American Conference Tournament championship on May 25 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio.

Jacob Crum drove in two runs off a single up the middle in the first inning during Central Michigan's 18-9 victory over Ohio in the Mid-American Conference Tournament opener on May 23 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio.

The next time up, he was hit in the face by a pitch and hasn't played since. 

Crum is currently day-to-day with a face injury as the Chippewas gear up to play in the Starkville Region of the NCAA Tournament, first-year coach Jordan Bischel said.

"He's meeting with a couple of doctors to see what he can and can't do," Bischel said on May 28. "He's day-to-day, just trying to figure out where he's at.

"No concussion there. Just some swelling and bruising around the face. Trying to figure out exactly what the next steps are."

Following the regular season, the senior outfielder was named to the All-MAC First Team. He's hitting .332 and started all 54 games up until his injury. He has 18 doubles, eight triples, seven home runs, 57 RBIs, 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts and 48 runs scored.

Crum adds a .973 fielding percentage, making six assists from the outfield in 2019. Bischel said he will likely be selected in the 2019 MLB Draft in early June.

"Jake is a difference maker in every aspect of the game," Bischel said. "He's a great defender and one of the fastest players in the country. Obviously, what he does with the bat by driving the ball to the gaps to drive in runs, he's a dynamic player."

The Chippewas (46-12) are riding an 18-game winning streak entering battle against No. 2 Miami (Fla.) at 8 p.m. May 31 in the NCAA Regional. Others in the Starkville Region are No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 4 Southern.

CMU has played and won its last two games without Crum, but Bischel hopes he will be able to return before taking on the Hurricanes.

"He's really good, so if we don't have him, it's obviously a big loss," Bischel said. "If we do, it's a big pickup. It was impressive last week that we lost him early in the tournament and didn't miss a beat."