CMU baseball dismantles Madonna University, remains unbeaten at home
On a chilly, cloud-covered April day, fans were few-and-far-between in the stands of Theunissen Stadium.
However, that didn’t stop Central Michigan (24-10, 17-1) baseball’s momentum as it rolled past Madonna University 23-5.
The Chippewas are a perfect 9-0 at Keilitz Field and extend their winning streak to 14 games.
“It wasn't the prettiest game early, but as a whole, we did a good job offensively, taking what they gave us, (we) hit some balls hard," said head coach Jordan Bischel. "I think Robby Morgan did a great job early of hitting a couple of balls hard to break it open and a couple of guys pitched better as the day went on.”
Freshman left-hander Adam Mrakitsch (W, 2-0) started on the mound. After giving up a hit and a walk to the first two batters he faced, Mrakitsch found his groove, recording career-highs in strikeouts (6) and innings pitched (3).
"He's still getting his feet wet," Bischel said. "But every one of these experiences is good for him and now he's starting to pile up a decent number of innings, where he's becoming reliable and gaining some confidence. So it was really good to see him settle in.”
CMU struggled to find a groove early, but the tides turned as Morgan stepped into the batter's box with two outs and two on in the bottom of the second inning.
After taking the first pitch, Morgan connected with a pitch and quickly deposited it beyond the left-field fence, giving the Chippewas a 3-0 lead.
"(Morgan's) getting hot for us here," Bischel said. "(He) struggled early in the season but had a good midweek game at Oakland last week, and had a good weekend for us at Bowling Green. (It's) been fun to see him settling in here in his freshman year.”
The Crusader's starting pitcher, Vi Mencotti struggled to command his pitches throughout the afternoon. Although making contact was a problem early, the Chippewas took advantage of Mencotti’s issues and sprinted to first base when allowed a free pass.
"You know, it's funny, a few years ago, we were trying to generate some energy, and one of our seniors, Jason Sullivan, got hit by a pitch, he sprinted the first base, and our dugout went nuts," Bischel said. "Nothing we really preached, but they have some fun with it. Hit by a pitch, they see how fast they can get the first."
In the third inning, Mencotti once again loaded the bases when he plunked sophomore Colton Coca, bringing Morgan to the batter's box. After working the count to 3-1, Morgan drove a ball into left field plating two runs to give CMU a 6-0 lead.
Madonna University tallied four runs in the fourth, however, the Chippewas added three more in the inning to maintain a 9-4 lead.
Looking to put the game away, CMU sent 13 batters to the plate in the fifth. As a result, it piled on eight more runs to take a 17-4 lead.
"I think our depth is showing up," Bischel said. "We're seeing a lot of different guys contribute. Had Morgan hitting in the eight-hole today, but it's kind of a different guy every day. We're pitching and playing a defense keeping scores down which is big, but it's just a consistent approach every day just starting over and making sure we don't get ahead of ourselves.”
With the game seemingly in hand, Bischel began emptying the bench in the sixth inning.
"I thought it was a deep productive effort," Bischel said. "It was fun to see Drew Stengren come off the bench and get two base hits. He's been playing a little bit more for us. So that was a real positive.”
Mario Camilletti led the team in hits with four, adding four RBI. Morgan led the team in RBI with five while going 3-for-4 at the plate. Zach Lechnir drew two walks and two hit-by pitches for a perfect 1.000 on-base percentage.
The Chippewas look to continue their 17-game Mid-American Conference winning streak on Friday at 3 p.m. against Akron in Theunissen Stadium.
"Well, we need two good days of practice," Bischel said. "If nothing else, it's just continuing to get better and not get ahead of ourselves. Akron is much improved this year. We're playing pretty well in the league, and we're just going to have to prepare. We finally get some good weather, get a couple of days to practice and prepare, and hopefully, we can keep it going."