Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Central Michigan baseball team begins the final week of the regular season on Tuesday (4:05 p.m.) when it entertains Michigan State in a nonconference game at Keilitz Field at Theunissen Stadium.
The Chippewas open a three-game home series on Thursday (4:05 p.m.) against Mid-American Conference rival Ohio.
CMU will celebrate Senior Day prior to Friday’s game with the Bobcats. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. The series and regular-season finale on Saturday (2:05 p.m.) is Alumni Homecoming Day.
The Chippewas are 22-28-1 and coming off a three-game Mid-American Conference in which they dropped two games at Miami (Ohio).
The Spartans (18-28) lost two of three last weekend at league-leading Minnesota in a Big Ten series. MSU closes the regular season this weekend at home against Ohio State.
Sophomore right-hander Cam Brown (2-1) will make his second start of the season for the Chippewas. Michigan State has yet to name a starter.
Brown has appeared in 18 games, 17 of them in relief. His only other start came at Michigan State on March 21, when he went just one inning on a staff day. CMU eventually won the game, 3-1. Brown did not get the decision.
Brown’s last appearance was at Miami, when he went 2 2/3 innings in relief and picked up the victory in a 6-2 Chippewa win.
CMU junior Daniel Robinson continued his torid pace in the Miami series, going 6 for 14 with a home run in the three games. Robinson is riding a 13-game hit streak, the longest of the season by a Chippewa, and is hitting .449 (22 for 49) with two home runs and 14 RBI over that span.
Robinson has collected multiple hits in his last six games and in six of his last seven. He has raised his average to a season-high .283 .
Chippewa junior Jason Sullivan went hitless in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the RedHawks, ending his hit streak at 11 games. Still, Sullivan remains among the hottest of Chippewas having hit .328 (22 for 67) over his last 19 games.
CMU redshirt freshman Griffin Lockwood-Powell has hit safely in seven straight games and in 10 of his last 11. Six times over that stretch Lockwood-Powell has recorded a multi-hit game. He is batting .405 (17 for 42) over those 11 games and leads CMU – and ranks ninth in the MAC -- with a .329 batting average.
CMU sophomore Zach Heeke’s streak of being hit by a pitch ended on Sunday in the Chippewas’ 13-8 loss at Miami. Heeke had been hit by a pitch in the Chippweas’ five games leading up to the series finale.
Heeke has been hit 23 times this season, which is tied for the fourth most in the nation. He leads the MAC and ranks 18th nationally with a .490 on-base percentage.
AT/NEAR THE TOP
The Chippewas lead the MAC in walks (262), hit batsmen (89), and on-base percentage (.389), and rank ninth in the 10-team league for fewest strikeouts (344).
The Chippewa pitching staff has picked off a league-high 13 baserunners and have allowed just 24 home runs, which is tops in the league (Toledo has allowed just 24 round-trippers).
Justin Antoncic and Chad Roskelly are the Spartans’ top hitters. Both enter Tuesday’s game hitting .278. Marty Bechina is MSU’s home run leader with six, and Roskelly tops the team with 24 RBI. Bechina has driven in 23 runs.