For years, Starkville, MS, the home of the Mississippi St. Bulldogs has been affectionately referred to as Starkvegas. What started as a dig from rival fan bases because there is essentially a lack of exciting things to do in this college town has been leaned into by Bulldogs fans and alums as sort of a nod to their identity. For the Central Michigan Chippewas, they’re hoping their Sunday outing in Starkvegas doesn’t come up snake eyes as they rematch against the Miami-Florida Hurricanes at 3PM in an elimination game.
These two squads opened this double-elimination regional on Friday, with the Chips continuing their winning streak with a 6-5 victory. At the time, it was the largest crowd they had played in front of all season. Miami, one of the nation’s best hitting teams, was befuddled by CMU’s bullpen as Ryan Palmblad and Zach Kohn combined for 5.1 innings pitched, allowing only 2 hits and one run while striking out 7. The Chips’ bullpen will likely need another strong performance on Sunday to stave off elimination.
On the hill to start the game for CMU will be sophomore right-hander Jordan Patty. Patty is 4-2 with a 2.53 earned run average. Miami will throw Brian Van Belle, a junior right-hander. Van Belle is 8-2 with a 3.30 ERA.
Sunday’s contest marks the third consecutive game that CMU has faced a baseball power, opening the regional against these same Hurricanes and then facing the host Bulldogs. Each of those teams has numerous regional titles, dozens of College World Series appearances, and even several national titles. For CMU, that uphill climb continues.
With a win, the Chips will face Mississippi State Sunday night at 9PM. Win then and it’s a Monday one-game rubber match with the Bulldogs to head on to the Super Regional. For now, it’s the Hurricanes and a win-or-go-home elimination game.
Your pertinent info for Sunday afternoon’s contest:
Game: Central Michigan vs. Miami
Location: Starkville, MS
First Pitch: 3PM
ESPN+ Stream: Here
We’ll have continuing coverage here on the Belt and via the Tweet machine, @HustleBelt.
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