Baseball falls to Kent State, faces MAC Tournament elimination game
Despite scoring five runs in the top of the ninth inning, the Central Michigan baseball team's attempt to comeback against No. 1 Kent State failed, losing 8-7 in the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Sprenger Stadium.
“We played really hard," said CMU head coach Steve Jaksa. "We battled all the way to the end, which is what we ask them to do. You play nine innings and I thought we played hard for all of them. I don’t have any complaints with how the guys battled and the effort that we gave."
In order to advance, the Chippewas (27-29-1) face Toledo in an elimination game at 10 a.m. on May 25. CMU defeated the Rockets in its first game of the MAC Tournament on a walk-off sacrifice bunt.
CMU struck first against the Golden Flashes (37-16) on an RBI single up the middle from Daniel Robinson, taking a 1-0 edge.
Kent State responded, scoring eight unanswered runs for an 8-1 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
Michael Brettell (L, 6-7) earned the start for the Chippewas. He allowed six runs on six hits and two walks in 4.2 innings of work. He struck out two hitters.
Over the final 2.1 innings of the game, reliever Cameron Miller did not allow a hit. Miller's impressive work out of the bullpen helped the Chippewas gain momentum and make a strong comeback effort.
Down 8-2 in the top of the ninth, CMU clawed back and trailed 8-7 with one out and Jason Sullivan at second base.
David Cole and Dazon Cole struck out in order to end the game, allowing Kent State to advance in the winners bracket.
“Sure, there’s a play here or a play there, but you can say that about anything," Jaksa said. "In the final analysis, if you can play hard all the way through the game and you can give yourself a chance."
Joey Murray (W, 9-1), the MAC Pitcher of the Year, gave up two runs in 6.2 innings pitched. He tied the MAC single season strikeouts record with 139 by striking out seven CMU hitters.
In Friday's game against Toledo, Jaksa plans to start freshman Logan Buczkowski, who has started in five of his 17 appearances this season.
Buczkowski, hailing from Mount Pleasant, is 2-1 with a 6.43 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 35.0 innings.