Wildcats begin conference play with split against CMU

While students were off in various parts of the country enjoying spring break, the Baker University baseball team was at home putting in work for a jam-packed week of games and practices.

In a seven-day stretch, the Wildcats put in eight games, winning five and only losing by a combined four runs in the other three games. In the first matchup March 10, the Wildcats traveled to Leavenworth to take on the University of St. Mary. The ’Cats won the first game 6-1. Senior pitcher Chris Cummins went the distance, allowing only five hits and striking out six.

While Cummins and the rest of the pitching staff shut down the Spires’ offense, the Wildcats also had success at the plate by scoring a combined 19 runs in the two-game sweep.

“It takes pressure off any pitcher on the staff,” Cummins said. “It gives you room to work and it’s a good feeling to know our team is capable of putting up runs like that.”

Game two was no different for the ’Cats. Head Coach Phil Hannon found support from a handful of pitchers to help the Wildcats to a 13-6 win. Two days later the Wildcats played host to the Spires. The teams split the doubleheader with BU taking the first game 2-1 and falling in the second 2-0.

Baker remained at home March 13 as it played host to local rival Ottawa University. The ’Cats split with the Braves but in the first game, the Wildcats found a spark on the base path. Only securing three hits, the ’Cats were able to use their speed and athleticism to score runs.

“Our speed on the base path is tremendous,” Cummins said. “It is probably the strongest part of our offense, just getting on base and creating havoc.”

Following Ottawa, the Wildcats had a break before traveling March 17 to Fayette, Mo., to play Central Methodist University. The team was back to its scoring ways in the first game, defeating the Eagles 13-4. The second game was a different story for the Wildcats. CMU found success offensively, led by Neil DeMartin, who went three for three at the plate with two RBI’s.

“I feel like we really had that one, we just gave it up at the end,” senior Steven Stewart said.

Since the doubleheader against Missouri Valley College that was scheduled for last Wednesday was rescheduled for this Wednesday, the team has had a chance to rest before gearing up for the majority of conference play.

BU will return to action Saturday and Sunday against Graceland University, followed by a matchup against Evangel Tuesday in Springfield, Mo.

After the success the Wildcats had over spring break, the team believes they have a great shot at making a conference run.

“When we get fine-tuned and we all work together, man, Baker is going to be untouchable,” sophomore Thomas Hawkins said.

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