Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Central Michigan huddles between innings against Miami (Ohio) on April 28 at Margo Jonker Stadium. The Chippewas will conclude Mid-American Conference play this weekend at Akron and Ohio.
Chippewas Battle For First Round Bye

Central Michigan Softball hits the road for its final weekend of Mid-American Conference play. The Chippewas travel to Akron and Ohio before starting tournament play next week.

Central Michigan (26-17, 12-6 MAC) currently sits third in the MAC and second in the West Division. The Chippewas are 5-1 on the road this season against MAC opponents. Central Michigan will look to rebound after a tough weekend series against Ball State (32-14, 15-2 MAC) and Miami  (18-27, 11-7 MAC). The Chippewas took the Cardinals to 10 innings in game two on Friday, Aril 26, before falling 6-4, and battled the RedHawks, splitting the series.

Senior Macy Merchant continues to be consistent at the plate, batting .462 last weekend. Merchant hit her fifth double of the season on April 26 against Ball State and finished the game 3-6. She followed the performance up with a 3-3 day against Miami on April 27. She earned one base on balls and drove in sophomore CarolAnn Sexauer from second to give the Chippewas a 2-1 lead over the RedHawks. Merchant currently is third in the MAC with a .410 batting average this season and second in the conference with a .468 average against MAC opponents. Merchant is on pace to finish the season and her career in top three in Central Michigan history for batting average.

Junior Chelsea Sundberg pitched two complete games last weekend at Margo Jonker Stadium. She struck out five batters against Ball State and held the Cardinals to one run in the first seven innings of play in game two. Against Miami on April 28, Sundberg only surrendered three hits and gave up zero earned runs. She struck out a total of ten batters in two appearances, bringing her season total to a team-high 84. Sundberg has pitched nine complete games this season and has a season ERA of 2.59.

Sophomore Trista Cox and freshman Katelyn Rentschler hit back-to-back homeruns on April 27 to give Central Michigan the 4-2 victory over Miami. After being deadlocked 2-2, Cox hit her third homerun of the season over the left field wall to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Rentschler followed with her fourth homer of the year, tied for second on the team with junior Brittney Horan.

The Chippewas have already clinched a bid for 2013 MAC Tournament and are currently one game back of Kent State (23-17, 13-5 MAC) for a first round bye. The Flashes will finish the regular season at Miami and Ball State. Central Michigan split with Kent State at Margo Jonker Stadium back on April 6-7.

Scouting Report

Akron Zips (21-24, 7-11) • Friday, May 3 at 1p.m. & 4 p.m.

Akron comes into the weekend in a three-way tie with Ohio and Toledo for seventh in the conference and currently ranks fifth in the East division. The Zips are riding a three-game win streak into the weekend, splitting their doubleheader at Northern Illinois and sweeping Western Michigan last weekend. Shawna Hochstetler leads Akron with a .315 batting average. Rachael Ratcliffe has a team-high 31 RBIs this season and nine homeruns. Erin Seller has been the workhorse in the circle for Akron, pitching 226 innings in 39 appearances, 33 of which she started. Seller has an ERA of 2.69 and 192 strikeouts. Central Michigan swept the Zips last season, winning 6-1 and 10-0 at Margo Jonker Stadium.

Ohio Bobcats (24-25, 7-11) • Saturday, May 4 at 5 p.m./Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m.

Ohio will be battling for a spot in the MAC Tournament this weekend, currently in a three-way tie for the final position with Akron and Toledo. The Bobcats were on a five-game win streak before stumbling last weekend at Northern Illinois in game two and being swept at Western Michigan. Lauren Gellerman leads Ohio with 51 RBIs, second in the MAC, and has a .384 batting average. She has a conference-high 21 homeruns on the season and 33 extra base hits. Savannah Jo Dorsey has 36 appearances in the circle for Ohio, striking out 170 batters and has a season ERA of 3.35.