If the University of Toledo's baseball season has taught coach Cory Mee anything, it's that it will be hard to predict what will happen today in the Rockets' first game of the Mid-American Conference tournament.
That's not just because it's UT's first MAC tournament since 1999. All year long, the Rockets were just as likely to sweep a series as they were to get swept. With a young roster that features just one senior starter, playing with consistency was a constant battle.
But if the Rockets encounter a setback during the tournament, Mee has no doubt they will bounce back.
"The thing I love about our team is we've been very resilient all season," Mee said. "That's been one of our greatest strengths, we keep coming back for more every day."
The sixth-seeded Rockets will play No. 1 seed EMU today at 4 p.m. on its home field at Oestrike Stadium in Ypsilanti, Mich. UT will play again tomorrow at a time determined by the outcome of its first game.
Mee, a fourth-year coach, can have his first winning season if the Rockets (26-26) win two games this week.
"It's an exciting time for our team to be able to continue playing at this point in the season," Mee said. "They're really looking forward to the challenge of competing with the best teams in our league. It's a great opportunity and a challenge that our guys are up to."
It's just the Rockets' fourth trip to the MAC tournament since 1981.
"Cory is building a program, and this is the first step, to make the playoffs," UT athletic director Mike O'Brien said.
The Rockets' greatest strength is its stacked lineup. With a .293 team batting average, UT is dangerous at any part of the lineup. Juniors Drew Hoisington and Scott Boley have been the stalwarts, but Mee credited some near the bottom of the order, including Jake Swint, Jake Oester and Josh Johnson, for contributing during the stretch run.
"Especially the last three weeks, we've really swung the bat well," Mee said. "Offensively we're feeling pretty good about ourselves."
Mee points to the Ball State series earlier this month, when the Rockets swept the Cardinals, as an important point in the season. But he also mentioned when UT got swept at Miami and at home against Central Michigan as key moments, because of how the team reacted.
"Our opening weekend of the conference we got swept by Miami, the next weekend we swept Ohio," Mee said. "That's a great response from our team to a little adversity."
UT lost two of three to EMU, but won the finale 16-3.
Sophomore right-hander Mike Inselmann (4-4, 5.20 ERA) will start for the Rockets against the Eagles. He started against EMU in the first game of their three-game series May 11-13 and lasted just 22/3 innings, giving up eight runs.
"Any time you get a chance to face somebody a second time, hopefully you see some things that can help us," Mee said. "Bottom line is about our own execution. Mike knows what he wants to do against each hitter. Mike's a great competitor."