Baseball blows late lead to drop game one, 5-4 to Ball State in final regular season series

Central Michigan baseball’s quest for an outright division title will have to wait at least one more day.

Needing only one win over Ball State to claim an outright Mid-American Conference West Division championship, the Chippewas allowed five runs in the seventh inning and blew a 3-0 lead to drop game one of the three-game series at Theunissen Stadium.

CMU drops to 28-25 on the season and 15-7 in MAC play. To have any chance at the conference title, the Chippewas would need to win out and have Kent State lose its final three games at Ohio. 

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Pat Leatherman got off to a strong start for CMU, pitching six scoresss innings and recording nine strikeouts. But the Jenison native got into trouble in the seventh. 

Sophomore Michael Brettell entered with a 3-1 lead and runners in scoring position and allowed a pair of base hits to lose the lead. 

The Cardinals recorded five of their nine hits in the seventh inning. 

In the eighth inning, freshman Zach Gilles hit a sacfice fly to score sophomore Evan Kratt and make it a one-run game. Senior Alex Borglin then walked to load the bases, but sophomore Jason Sullivan struck out swinging to end the rally. 

Junior Daniel Jipping provided the rest of the offense for CMU on the day, scoring on a fielder's choice in the second inning and hitting a two-run homer to center field in the fourth. 

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Game two of the series is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Friday. Freshman left-hander Tyler Hankins (5-1) is expected to get the start for the Chippewas.