Chippewas even series with Broncos heading into final game of regular season
Central Michigan 8 | Western Michigan: 1
In game one, it took until the ninth inning for any runs to come home and decide the game. In game two, the Central Michigan baseball team scored two runs early and didn't let go of its lead.
The Western Michigan Broncos (18-30, 11-12 Mid-American Conference) only scored one run all game as CMU (20-35, 11-12 MAC) defeated the Broncos 8-1 on Senior Day at Theunissen Stadium.
Junior catcher Robert Greenman hit a clutch two-run double with two outs in the second inning to score the Chippewas’ first runs of the game. In the next inning, freshman center fielder Dazon Cole hit a sacrifice fly to score sophomore left fielder Daniel Jipping. The score was an early 3-0 CMU lead.
"We got quite a few runners, we got some two-out knocks," said Head Coach Steve Jaksa. "We had runners in position and were able to put some pressure on them. (Greenman) has had some big hits for us during the course of the year and you'd like to think he's getting a little more consistent. That gave us two runs and we just kept going after that."
Junior starter Nick Deeg mowed through the Broncos on Friday with eight strikeouts. He had seven strikeouts through four innings, with five Broncos in a row going down via the strikeout. Just one of those seven batters struck out swinging. Deeg leads all Chippewas with 78 strikeouts in 2016.
"It was nice to have some command today," Deeg said. "A few pitches got away from me here and there. It was Senior Day so it was a lot to pitch for. I had to get it done for the seniors. It was nice to win it for them."
CMU scored again after an error by WMU reliever Kyle Mallwitz. Mallwitz faked a throw over to first base and then threw the ball out of reach of the Bronco’s third baseman, allowing sophomore shortstop Zach McKinstry to score from third base and Jipping to advance from first to second base.
The Chippewas scored two more two-out runs in the sixth inning after an RBI-single by McKinstry. An error by Mallwitz allowed senior outfielder Ryan Heeke to score one batter later.
Four of CMU’s eight runs were scored with two outs. Five Chippewas had two hits.
"Everyone will tell you (two-out runs) are the difference maker between a team winning and losing," Jaksa said. "Today we had more opportunities so we had a few more two-out knocks. Those are back-breakers for the guys on defense."
Western got its first run after an RBI-double off Deeg in the sixth inning. Deeg struck out the next batter and was then relieved of his duties by sophomore relief pitcher Colton Bradley. Deeg threw 95 pitches through 5 2/3 innings. He gave up one run on four hits and two walks to go along with his eight strikeouts.
"When you come in and pitch the way Nick did today — that's really important. You gotta have a guy that's able to do that," Jaksa said. "He's had enough experience and did a real nice job."
The Chippewas and Broncos will finish their three-game series and the regular season at 2:05 p.m Saturday at Theunissen Stadium.
CORRECTION: this article originally stated the game was on Saturday. The game was played on Friday.