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By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

 On day one of the double elimination MIAA Championship Tournament on Thursday Washburn baseball will face No. 2-ranked Central Missouri at 1 p.m. in Pittsburg. 

Washburn baseball returns to the MIAA Championship as the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament.

 CooperCarlgren 2Cooper Carlgren, Washburn University

PaytonMcHargWUbaseball 3Payton McHarg, Washburn University

Last time out the Ichabods won 9-7 at No. 19 Central Oklahoma to win the second game in the MIAA Quarterfinals best-two-of-three series. 

Washburn is now 31-19 overall on the year and 21-12 in the MIAA. The Mules are 45-6 on the year after sweeping Fort Hays State in the first round of the MIAA Tournament. 

If Washburn wins Thursday it will face the winner of the game between Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 10. If the Ichabods lose to the Mules they will face the other loser at 3 p.m. Friday.

Through 50 games Washburn is scoring 9.50 runs per game while allowing 7.32. 

At the plate the Ichabods are hitting .328 with a .426 on-base percentage and are slugging .574 as a team. They have 95 home runs and have drawn 251 walks. 

Washburn's pitching staff has an earned run average of 7.03 this season in 428.2 innings pitched. They have struck out 362 batters while allowing 466 hits and issuing 273 walks. 

The Ichabods are third in the nation in home runs per game with 95 blasts. 

Washburn is ninth in the nation and second in the conference in doubles with 124. 

Junior Payton McHarg has started all 50 games for the Ichabods, hitting a team-high .369 with 21 home runs and 66 runs batted in. He has scored 65 runs and has 72 total hits. He is second in the nation in home runs, 23rd in slugging and 20th in RBI with top-five conference marks in all three.

Cash Jay is second on the team with a .365 average in 48 games. He has a team-high 21 doubles and is second on the team with 15 home runs while driving in 58 on 72 total hits. He is 11th in the nation in doubles, 37th in home runs and ranks in the top-10 in the conference in both categories. 

Connor Scott is batting .359 on the year with a team-high 16 stolen bases to pair with six home runs, three triples and 32 runs. 

Seventeen players have taken the mound this season for Washburn. 

Washburn Rural product Cooper Carlgren leads the Ichabods with 68.1 innings across 14 starts this season. He has a 6.32 ERA and a 5-3 record along with a team-high 63 strikeouts. Hitters have a .261 batting average against him. He is eighth in the MIAA in strikeouts.

Chase Torkelson is second on the team with 64.1 innings across 14 starts this season and a 5-0 record for the most wins on the squad. He has a 6.99 ERA, has struck out 50 batters and walked 41 hitters.

In nine-plus seasons, Washburn head coach Harley Douglas carries an all-time record of 255-215 with five appearances in the MIAA Tournament. He led the program to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2022.

The Mules went 29-4 in the MIAA to win the regular-season championship and defeated Fort Hays State in both games of the first round. 

Brennen van Breusegen is hitting .391 on the year for Central Missouri in 50 games with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. He has a .483 on-base percentage with 16 stolen bases. 

Max Holy leads the Mules with 67 RBI this season while hitting .379. He has 14 home runs along with a team-high 28 stolen bases on 29 attempts. 

Chase Heath has hit .389 this season in 43 games with 13 home runs and 48 RBI while only striking out 12 times all season. 

On the mound, Central Missouri's staff has a 5.26 ERA in 429.1 innings with 390 strikeouts and 184 walks issued. 

Connor Wolf leads the Mules with 78.0 innings pitched and has a team-low 3.58 ERA among starters in 13 starts, going 11-0. He has 75 strikouts while allowing just 14 walks and 60 hits. Opponents are hitting .211 against him on the year. 

Thursday will be the 121st game all-time between Washburn and Central Missouri, with the Mules leading the series 92-28.

Earlier this season Central Missouri won the season series with Washburn two games to one in Topeka. 

If Washburn wins Thursday over Central Missouri it will face the winner of Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State at 11 a.m. on Friday. If the Ichabods lose they will face the loser of the other contest at 3 p.m. on Friday. 

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