Baseball swept in season opening weekend

Catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powekk swings for the ball, Saturday May 1, 2021, Theunissen Stadium.

It was not the start Central Michigan was looking for as West Virginia and Coastal Carolina were too much to handle in the “Baseball at the Beach” tournament at Springs Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C. 

The Chippewas dropped both their matchups against West Virginia, a 13-8 loss on Fri. and a 10-0 shutout on Sunday. Saturday’s game was their first ever meeting with Coastal Carolina, which ended in an 8-4 loss. 

“We haven’t stepped foot on a baseball field until two days ago and I thought we did a really good job at competing, but it’s not easy to score against good teams,” said CMU head coach Jordan Bischell.

Quality pitching was the most vital factor in this weekend. Both WVU (3-0) and CCU (2-1) were able to find great success limiting hitting and scoring opportunities. CMU (0-3) mostly struggled throwing batters out as they allowed 13 or more hits in each of their three games.

Though all games resulted in a loss, there were many positives for the Chippewas in batting, pitching, and fielding.

In the three-game tournament CMU only committed one fielding error while WVU and CCU combined for five. Bischell said the biggest unknown when starting the season is how defense and fielding is, because you can’t play on a diamond during a Michigan winter. 

“Co-Ace,” as he puts it, Andrew Taylor showed some familiarity from last year in his debut against the Chanticleers. He started off the game slow allowing an RBI double but settled in the second inning. Taylor was relieved in the bottom of the fifth on 4.1 innings pitched with 89 pitches, four strike outs and one run earned for a 2.08 ERA to start the season.

Two guys stuck out in the batting line-up in outfielder Jakob Marsee and second baseman Mario Camilletti. Marsee led the way with 12 at-bats over the series with, six hits, seven RBI’s, one homerun, three walks, and one stolen bag. Camilletti had 11 at-bats, with three hits, one RBI, three walks and one run.

Vs. West Virginia

The Chippewas dropped their season opener on Fri. to West Virginia 13-8.

All was well until the top of the third inning for the Chippewas, when they let up six runs. Four of those runs came off a grand slam from WVU first baseman Grant Hussey. 

CMU pitcher Jordan Patty got the opening day start. He threw 76 pitches through 3 1/3 innings and gave up nine earned runs off two homers, seven hits, and four walks. The Chippewas faced 10 different Mountaineers on the bump.

Last season the Mountaineers were nationally ranked when the Chippewas faced them, but this year they’re projected to finish second to last in the Big 12 Conference. 

On their Sun. matchup WVU shutout the Chippewas offense in a 10-0 one sided battle.

The Chippewas pitching rotation on Sunday was not up to snuff as the Mountaineers were able to get 10 runs off 15 hits, six doubles, nine RBI’s, four walks and five stolen bags.

CMU sent out six different arms and none pitched  more than 2 1/3 innings. CMU Right-hander Logan Buczkowski got the loss with four earned runs off, two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts in 49 pitches.

Vs. Coastal Carolina

In the second inning the Chippewas found themselves up 2-1 over the Chanticleers all the way up to the sixth inning. 

After Taylor was relieved left-handed pitcher Garrett Navarra came in to finish out the rest of the fifth inning, which he did with success.

In the bottom of the sixth Navarra faced every Coastal Carolina batter in the lineup. He let up an RBI double to tie the game at 2-2, a 2-RBI double to put Carolina up 4-2, then a 2-RBI single that put Coastal up 6-2.

“Garrett is one of our very best pitchers and has had a ton of success for us and he was throwing the ball well against a good offense,” said Bischel. “He’s going to be a starting pitcher for us, and we want to get that pitch count built up, and when you have one of your best pitchers out there sometimes you trust them to keep working.”

Navarra was pulled after the 8th on 3 innings pitched, 94 pitches, five strike outs, one HR, nine hits, seven earned runs, with an ERA of 21.00 to start the season.

CMU will remain on the road to face Western Kentucky in a three-game series next weekend. Their Fri. matchup is at 4 p.m., Sat. at 2 p.m., and Sun at 2 p.m. at Nick Denes Field in Bowling Green, KY.