Baseball Hosts Kent State for Final Home Series

YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University baseball team will close out the 2021…

YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University baseball team will close out the 2021 season at Oestrike Stadium, hosting Kent State University for a final Mid-American Conference series. Friday’s game is set for 5 p.m., with Saturday’s doubleheader scheduled for 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday’s final contest will get underway at 1 p.m.
     Fans can watch the games on Eagle All-Access, or follow via live stats, with links being found on the baseball schedule page of EMUEagles.com. Updates will also be posted throughout the game on the team’s Twitter account, @EMU_Baseball. 

SENIOR DAY AT OESTRIKE: The Eastern Michigan University baseball program will honor 13 seniors prior to the start of Sunday’s game, May 30. The senior class will be made up of 11 members of the Class of 2021, as well as two members of the Class of 2020 that did not have the opportunity to participate in a Senior Day celebration a season ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Eastern Michigan’s Class of 2021 features: Holden Cook, Davis Feldman, Eli Gora, Scott Granzotto, John Holt, Nate Jones, Nick Jones, Luke McGuire, Mike Monahan, Drake Peggs,  and Jeff Timko, while Devin Hager and Caleb Hester will return from the Class of 2020.

MEIS-LY DONE: Posting the longest outing by any starter over the weekend, Eastern Michigan righty Justin Meis tossed the complete game against Central Michigan in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, May 22. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native allowed just one run and five hits over the 6.0 innings, striking out five.

    His start was the sixth time in 2021 he has recorded at least 6.0 innings on the mound, as well  as the eighth time he has tallied at least five strikeouts. 

TAYLOR ON TOP: EMU shortstop Taylor Hopkins led Eastern Michigan at the plate over a series for the fourth time in 2021, pacing the Green and White with a .333 batting average at Central Michigan, May 21-23. The Mason, Ohio native knocked four hits and added an RBI in his four games. In addition, his two-hit performance, May 23, marked his 14th multiple-hit contest of the season, a number which leads Eastern. 

    So far this season, Hopkins is the only Eagle to have started all 47 games, leads the team with 52 hits on the season, including eight doubles, which ties for the team top, and sits second with a .308 batting average.

NATE THE GREAT: Eastern Michigan center fielder Nate Jones was one of six Eagles to start all four games for the Green and White against Central Michigan, May 21-23. Finishing the weekend batting .300, the senior’s batting average and hits (3) ranked second on the team, while his one run scored tied for the team lead.

    The Battle Creek, Mich. native was coming off a 3-for-4 day against Toledo, May 18, where he led the team in hits and tied for the team lead in RBIs. He also scored two runs, second-most on the team. The game was Jones’ first multiple-hit contest, as well as first multiple-RBI game of the season.

HOW ABOUT THE HOMERS: With home runs from Christian Bault and Daniel Warkentin at Central Michigan, May 22, Eastern Michigan sits at 36 home runs on the season, the most since the 2017 squad hit the same number.

WATCH OUT FOR HOUSE: Eastern Michigan left-hander Trevor House had a pair of strong outings against Central Michigan, May 22-23. After tossing a scoreless, 1-2-3 inning to close out game two of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Okeana, Ohio native once again closed out the game for EMU in the series finale on Sunday. Completing the final 2.2 innings of work on the mound, House struck out three and allowed just one hit, while also finishing as the only Eagle to not allow an earned CMU run during the game. 

WHACKS FOR WARKETIN: In his first start of the series, EMU third baseman Daniel Warkentin had a 3-for-3 day at the plate, including a home run, against Central Michigan, May 22. The Leamington, Ontario native was the only Eagle to record a three-hit contest in a game against the Chippewas. 

    Warkentin now sits with a .250 average on the season, with 23 hits and 11 RBI’s. His two triples on the year lead the Eagles.

TWO FOR CB: The only Eagle to record multiple-RBIs against the Chippewas, infielder Christian Bault had a solid weekend at the plate. While his two RBIs led the Green and White, his three total hits tied for second-best on the team.

    One of his hits came in the form of a leadoff, fourth-inning home run in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader, ending EMU’s series scoring drought. 

EXTRA FROM ELI: One-of-two players to crack CMU’s starter in the series opener, May 21, Eastern Michigan first baseman/catcher Eli Gora accounted for two of the three Green and White hits in the contest.

    Leading off the second inning with a double to left field, Gora followed with a two-out single through the left side in his next at-bat in the fourth. He would be the only Eagle to have a hit until Will Oberg’s fifth-inning leadoff double, which would mark the final hit of the day for Eastern. 

PUTTING THE ‘RUN’ IN HOME RUN: Both of Eastern Michigan’s runs in its 4-2 loss to Central Michigan, May 22, came in the form of home runs. The contest marked the seventh of the season in which all of EMU’s runs were scored via home run (at Mississippi State, March 13-14, at Akron, March 20, at Western Michigan, March 29, at Ohio, April 10-11, and at CMU, May 22). 

    Additionally, the Green and White’s 2-1, extra-inning loss to Ohio, April 10, saw all three runs from both sides be scored via home run. 

SHUTOUT OR BE SHUTOUT: Earlier this season, Eastern Michigan posted back-to-back shutout performances at Bowling Green, May 8 (3-0) and against Toledo, May 11 (6-0), marking the first back-to-back shutouts for the Green and White since April 13-14, 2007, when the Eagles shutout Ohio, 2-0 and 1-0.

    At Central Michigan, May 21-22, EMU was shutout in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 20-25, 2005, in a pair of 2-0 losses to South Florida and Northern Iowa.

    Additionally, this is the first time since the 1975 season that Eastern Michigan has both shutout an opponent in back-to-back games, and have been shutout by an opponent in consecutive contests. 

20 WINS: Sitting at 20-27 on the season, Eastern Michigan has recorded 20-or-more wins in all but three full seasons since 1999.  The Eagles did not reach 20 wins in 2008 (17), 2014 (19), and 2019 (11). The 2020 season is excluded as 20 games were not played.

MULTIPLE RBIs: With 47 multiple-RBI performances by members of the Green and White in 2021, the team has eclipsed the 2019 squad’s 41 contests with multiple-RBI showings. In addition, two more would tie the 2021 team with the 2018 team, who had 49 multiple-RBI performances.

WHAT’S KENT STATE BEEN UP TO?: The Golden Flashes enter the weekend with a 27-24 overall record and 20-16 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The Golden Flashes have not lost any of their last five series, taking series wins over Western Michigan, Akron, and Miami, while tying its series with Ohio and Ball State. 

LAST MEETING: Kent State swept Eastern Michigan in a three-game series at Oestrike Stadium, May 16-18, 2019. The Golden Flashes took game one, 9-7, game two, 5-4, and game three, 4-0. KSU has also won five of the last six meetings between the two sides, with EMU’s last victory coming in the form of an 8-4 win May 11, 2018 in Kent, Ohio. 

SERIES HISTORY: Kent State holds a 45-73 advantage in the all-time series over the Eagles. Since the 1999 season, KSU leads the series 37-10, with a 16-2 mark at Oestrike Stadium and a 11-4 record in Kent, Ohio.

#MACTION MATTERS: The Mid-American Conference announced that, due to circumstances onset by the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be eliminating conference tournaments for eight sports, with baseball being one of them. The result? The MAC regular season champion will receive the conference’s automatic bid to a NCAA Regional. With the conference also adapting a 40-game schedule consisting of four-game series, every contest proves critical to staying in the hunt for the league crown.

MAC PRESEASON POLL: Eastern was selected to finish ninth overall in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll, as announced by the league office, Feb. 17. EMU finished with 36 points,  while Central Michigan finished in the top spot for the second consecutive season with 111 points and four first-place votes. Kent State garnered five first-place votes and finished just shy of CMU with 110 points.

MAC Baseball Preseason Poll

1. Central Michigan (4) – 111 points

2. Kent State (5) – 110 points

T3. Miami (1)  — 96 points

T3. Ball State – 96 points

5. Northern Illinois (1) – 72 points

6. Western Michigan – 63 points

7. Ohio – 56 points

8. Toledo – 45 points

9. Eastern Michigan – 36 points

10. Bowling Green – 28 points

11. Akron – 13 points

ON THE HORIZON: This weekend’s series will mark the final outing for the Green and White in the 2021 season due to the elimination of the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Sunday’s series finale will see the EMU baseball program honor its senior class prior the game.