Baseball beats Ohio in slugfest to advance in MAC tournament
Pitching proved to be the difference down the stretch for the Central Michigan baseball team, but the bats came alive in the first day of the Mid-American Conference tournament.
The Central Michigan baseball team scored eight runs in the fourth inning Wednesday to beat Ohio 13-9 in front of 1,537 at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.
In a game that saw 25 combined hits, CMU got the bats going early.
Consecutive base knocks set up an RBI single by sophomore Nate Theunissen to put the Chippewas on the board in first inning. Later in the inning, sophomore Scott Phillion connected on a two-run single and senior Ricky Clark singled through the left side to put Ohio in an early 4-0 hole.
“You know going into those kinds of games that’s the situation (high scoring) it’s going to be,” said coach Steve Jaksa. “With (Gauntlet) Eldemire and (Robert) Maddox and the others, they can swing the bat. You go in, you battle and try and score as many runs as you can.”
Sure enough, Ohio’s offense would not disappoint. After both teams traded runs in the second, OU would score four in the third, including a three-run homer by designated hitter Seth Streich, to tie the game at 5.
All of a sudden the tide began to turn in favor of the Bobcats, a team that was swept when they visited Theunissen Stadium in April.
Ohio starter Jason Moultan would get CMU hitters to go 1-2-3 in its half of the third and the Bobcats would score another run in the fourth to take a 6-5 lead.
“They did have the momentum,” Jaksa said. “We knew we needed to score again because they were ready to keep scoring.”
With two outs in the fourth, senior Dale Cornstubble tied the game with an RBI single. Clark (1-for-4, two RBIs, run scored) would later draw a bases loaded walk to give CMU a 7-6 lead.
An Ohio fielding error on a ball hit to third base by junior Robbie Harman extended the inning and proved to be the turning point.
CMU capitalized by drawing a hit by pitch and walk with the bases loaded and getting a three-run triple by senior James Teas (2-for-4, three RBIs, run scored) to blossom the CMU lead to 13-6 and put the game out of reach.
“Those eight runs gave us a cushion, allowed us to breathe a little bit and, at the same time, turn it over to our pitching staff,” Jaksa said.
Freshman Dietrich Enns got the win in relief, giving up two runs on two hits in three innings pitched. Enns improves his record to a perfect 7-0 on the season.
Senior starter Jesse Hernandez went four innings and gave up six runs on eight hits. Junior Mike Nixon surrendered one run on three hits in three innings of work.
Junior Matt Faiman went 2-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored for the Chippeaws.
CMU advances to play No. 5 seed Bowling Green at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Chippewas beat BGSU 12-7 on March 24 in Bowling Green, Ohio, in the teams’ only meeting during the season.
The Falcons beat fourth-seed Ball State 6-4 on Wednesday to advance.
Thursday’s tournament schedule
No. 6 Miami vs. No. 2 Kent State, 9 a.m.
No. 4 Ball State vs. No. 8 Ohio, 12:30 p.m.
No. 5 Bowling Green vs. No. 1 CMU, 4 p.m.
No. 3 Toledo vs. No. 7 EMU, 7:30 p.m.
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