Central Michigan baseball has a lot of new faces in the starting lineup and its inexperience showed in a season-opening 12-6 loss to Louisiana- Lafayette Friday night.
The Chippewas walked nine batters and struggled on bunt coverage throughout the night in the first of a four-game series a “Tigue” Moore Field.
“We did make a couple mistakes with our spacing on defense,” said head coach Steve Jaksa. “In their big inning we didn’t get good bunt coverage and that allowed the inning to continue. If we get that out we would have preserved ourselves three or four runs.”
CMU fell behind 3-0 and were struggling to get the bats going against UL-L starter Chase Traffica until sophomore center fielder Nick Regnier belted a three-run home run over the left field wall to tie the game at three in the fifth inning. Regnier also hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning.
However; it gave back the lead in the bottom of fifth, thanks to some sloppy play, walking four batters in the inning, two of which scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball.
The Ragin Cajuns blew it open in the sixth, scoring seven runs off junior right hander Joe Ucho. UL-L finished the game with 14 hits compared to the Chippewas 10.
“Whenever you give up seven runs in an inning, it’s going to be difficult to win,” Jaksa said. “They really only had two big innings in hindsight.”
Freshman Zack Fields was the only other Chippewa besides Regnier to drive in a run when he hit a pinch-hit double, scoring sophomore first basemen Cody Leichman in the eighth inning.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Trowbridge got the start on the mound for CMU, giving up seven hits and three earned runs over four innings. He also struck out six and walked three batters.
“”I think Matt did some good things,” Jaksa said. “I think he got a little gassed in the fifth inning. He fought hard through a couple innings, but, overall, I think it was a good first game. Sure he had some pitches he wanted back, but what pitcher doesn’t?”
The Chippewas and Ragin Cajuns will be right back at it on Saturday when they will play a doubleheader beginning with game one at 3 p.m.