CMU leaves the warmth of its gym for Tampa

Central Michigan baseball is finally going to get a breath of fresh air, taking a nine game southern tour, and its first stop is Red McEwen field.

USF (6-3) will host CMU (0-0) this weekend after coming off a close loss to the Florida Gators Tuesday.

“I think the guys are feeling good about themselves,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said. “We sure wish that we would have beaten Florida, but we played a whale of a ball game and I think our guys are really upbeat and confident and they’ll be ready to go.”

Even though they came home with a loss, the Bulls gained more game experience as opposed to the Chippewas who have not played yet this season.

“You just have that game experience under your belt, and your pitchers have been out there a couple times — gotten their arms stretched out and stuff like that,” said Cardieri. “So from that standpoint, it’s definitely advantageous to us.”

According to Cardieri, the fact that CMU has not played any games this season does not make them less dangerous. He does not think that the Chippewas will be at a definite disadvantage.

“I have seen teams come right out of the gym and play great when they come down here,” Cardieri said.

The gym he refers to is the gym that CMU has been practicing in. Unlike southern schools that have the opportunity to play outside year-round, northern schools must practice indoors until things warm up. The game against the Bulls this Friday night will be the first time CMU has played outside.

That inside training might not be as bad as one might expect. According to Cardieri, it could get a team motivated.

“I think it will really help them,” Cardieri said. “They’re going to be fired up to be outside. They have been inside, so they’re keeping their head down when they are hitting and they’re keeping their head down when they’re fielding groundballs because they’re not getting any bad hops or anything like that, so

I think you can expect them to be pretty excited to be outside and play a good series.”

The Bulls play a three game series with the Chippewas Friday ,at 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Even though it appears CMU has some disadvantages, Cardieri still thinks that it is anyone’s game.

“We can beat them and they can beat us, that is all I can tell you,” he said.

Chris Wagenheim covers baseball and can be reached at