Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct inaccuracies.
The maroon squad found itself on top of its gold counterpart 6-1 Saturday in game two of the baseball Fall World Series Saturday afternoon at Theunissen Stadium.
Sophomore Matt Trowbridge was on the mound for the Maroon team, while junior Joe Ucho started the game for the Gold squad. Trowbridge threw 6 2/3 innings and struck out six batters, while surrendering four hits. Ucho fanned seven hitters over four innings, giving up six runs.
Central Michigan head coach Steve Jaksa said he saw some things with his pitching that they can work on in order to improve when it comes to holding runners.
“It’s really a combination between the middle guys and our starter,” he said. Some of these guys haven’t worked together long enough, and we obviously have to get better. If the pitchers are uncomfortable with what they see out there, they just have to step off and our middle guys have to be a little better at holding runners on because the Maroon team clearly took advantage of things once they got on base.”
Both teams saw offensive success early.
The Gold team struck first after sophomore Cody Leichman singled to right center, scoring junior Noel Santos from second. After senior Tom Lally stole second for the Maroon squad, sophomore Pat Mackenzie stole home to tie the game 1-1.
The next three innings would be scoreless, until the Maroon team scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth innings to take a 6–1 lead. The scoring started with a single to center from Mackenzie that brought freshman Tyler Frank home. The big hit of the game was off the bat of freshman Zack Fields, whose double down the left field line busted the game open, scoring freshman Logan Reigner, Mackenzie and Lally. Senior Kyle Henris grounded to first to score the final run of the game.
Jaksa said he observed some good things from his team in terms of having consistent defense and solid pitching.
“I thought we played good, consistent defense and that has to be a staple,” he said. “We always like to say pitching and defense are going to keep you in every game. Our pitchers have to continue to fill up the strike zone while conserving their pitch count, which will extend their outings.”
Ucho was relieved of his pitching duties in the fifth by freshman Blake Hibbitts, who pitched four innings of no–hit baseball. Hibbitts also struck out five batters.
Freshman Ryan O’Shea came into pitch for Trowbridge in the seventh innings. O’Shea pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out two.
Jaksa said he saw many batters didn’t execute in two–strike counts, and were expecting certain pitches.
“Baseball is a game where you have to be consistent at your approach…I thought we took too many called third strikes and I think that was the biggest thing,” Jaksa said. “ When you get into two strike counts, you have to be more global in your approach and not look for a certain pitch because they could throw something else.”
The Maroon and Gold will face off again tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. inside Theunissen Stadium. Sophomore Dylan Rheaultwill get the nod for the Gold team, while the Maroon squad will send out freshman Jimmy McNamara.