The baseball team will break out the hat and gloves this weekend when it opens conference play with a three-game series at Buffalo.
Winter hats and gloves, that is.
With temperatures expected to be in the 30s over the weekend, the Chippewas and Bulls will have to play under uncharacteristic conditions for baseball.
“The elements are the elements,” said head coach Steve Jaksa. “Both teams have to play in it. It’s going to be chilly; fortunately, we have a turf field to play on so we won’t have a field situation that will be a problem.”
Buffalo moved the series to Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., because of the school’s field synthetic turf (A-Turf) playing surface.
CMU is coming off of a four-game series at Marshall where it won three of four games. The Chippewas have been led Nick and Logan Regnier so far this season. Through 19 games this season, the brothers are the top two hitters on the team, batting .333 and .329 with 16 and 11 RBI respectively.
Last season, the Chippewas won two out of three games against the Bulls at Theunissen Stadium. All three games were high-scoring affairs, including an 11-10 Buffalo win and a 14-13 CMU win in the series finale.
“I hope we don’t give up 13-14 runs again,” Jaksa said. “Last year, they were a really good hitting club. They kind of caught us by surprise to a certain extent. They were hot; everything they hit they hit right on the screws, so that worked out well for them last year at our place.”
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Foley will start the series-opener on Friday. So far this season, the right-hander is 4-0 with 1.08 ERA. Senior Pat Kaminska will start Game 2 on Saturday, and sophomore Dylan Rheault will make his third start of the year on Sunday in place of senior Rick Dodridge, who will not be making the trip to New York due to a tweak in his arm.
Jaksa does not think Dodridge’s injury is serious and expects to have him back shortly.
“I think if we throw the ball well, we will neutralize some of their hitting,” Jaksa said. “I do think they have the potential to have a team that will score some runs, but it’s not the same team they had last year. Overall, they have improved the last couple years.”
The Bulls are coming off of 4-0 win against Dayton. Senior outfielder Jason Kanzler is batting .354 on the season and leads the team with 23 RBI.
First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m.