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NCAA Tournament Game 1 Preview: Central Michigan

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The Hurricanes open up the tournament against the Chippewas.

Credit: Miami Athletics

The Miami Hurricanes open up the 2019 NCAA Tournament by taking on the Central Michigan Chippewas. The Chippewas have won 18 games in a row heading into Friday night, and have put together an impressive season so far.

Central Michigan is making their first tournament appearance since 1995 on Friday night. The Chippewas got there by winning the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament titles. CMU lost just five games in their conference all year, and beat Pitt and Notre Dame in mid-week matchups during the season.

Central Michigan will send experienced senior Pat Leatherman to the mound. He has 62 starts in his career, and has been a standout in the Chippewas’ rotation for the last four seasons. He was 10-1 this year and led the team in strikeouts with 83. Miami will send Chris McMahon to the mound to oppose him. McMahon has worked two great appearances since returning from an injury he suffered in a start against Virginia April 13th. He’ll hope to build off of a fantastic performance against Duke in the last weekend of the season where he earned his third win of the year while striking out six over five innings. McMahon should have no pitch count limit on Friday.

As a team Central Michigan bats for a .302 average. The Chippewas have a great offense, one that has nearly no obvious holes in the lineup. The centerpiece is undoubtedly catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell, who has eleven home runs and 74 RBI on the season. Zavier Warren is another Chippewa to watch out for, as he has swung the bat well throughout the year with a team high .356 average and second-best 68 RBI.

Additionally, Central Michigan has a tremendous bullpen, so it’ll be important for Miami to score runs early and take advantage of every opportunity they have. All in all, the Chippewas have four pitchers with a sub-3.00 ERA and they could play a big role in a tight game.

The Hurricanes are finally making their return to the NCAA Tournament after a two year absence, but the goals this team has set have not yet been reached. “Yes we’re happy we’re in the regionals,” Gino Dimare said, but he explained that “from the first day in August, we were talking about winning a National Championship.” The road to Omaha, and that fifth championship, begins on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.

Game Info

Date & Time: Friday, May 31, 8:00 P.M. Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (3-2, 3.70 ERA)

Central Michigan Starter: Pat Leatherman (10-1, 2.56 ERA)

Radio: 790 The Ticket

Radio: ESPN 3