Baseball sweeps Eastern Michigan, extends winning streak to 11 games
Wins down the stretch are becoming the norm for the Central Michigan baseball team.
Now with just four games left in the regular season, the Chippewas (39-12, 19-5 Mid-American Conference) kept rolling by earning a three-game sweep over Eastern Michigan to extend their win streak to 11 games.
CMU won by scores of 11-1, 3-1 and 8-7 against the Eagles (11-40-1, 6-18 MAC) at Oestrike Stadium from May 10-12.
David Cole got things started early in the second inning with an RBI triple. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Kratt. After two innings CMU held a 2-0 lead.
From that moment on, the Chippewas never looked back. CMU scored four in the fourth inning and two in the fifth. After six innings, coach Jordan Bischel's group was ahead, 9-1.
CMU added two more runs in the ninth to push the score to 11-1. Seniors Cole and Kratt each had impressive days behind the plate. Cole was 3-for-5 with one RBI and scoring three runs, and Kratt was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs.
Senior right-hander Pat Leatherman was solid on the mound. He earned the victory and improved his record to 8-1 on the season, pitching 5 2/3 innings with four strikeouts.
Jack Collins came on in relief for Leatherman in the sixth inning, allowing just one run in 2 1/3 innings with two strikeouts. Sophomore Logan Buczkowski closed the game in a non-save situation with one scoreless inning.
“I was very pleased with how prepared our guys played today,” Bischel said. "Leatherman was sharp again, which gave our offense a chance to build a lead and we swung the bats very well.”
Just like the first game, the Chippewas put runs on the board early in the second game of the series.
After CMU quickly put up two runs, the Eagles responded with a run in the second inning but trailed, 2-1.
After the early runs, both teams went dry at the plate. However, the Chippewas added one run in the fifth inning to increase their lead to 3-1, and that score would hold until the end of the game.
Junior Cameron Brown took the mound to start for the Chippewas and went seven innings. He allowed only one run on five hits and struck out four en route to his ninth victory of the campaign.
"Cam was definitely the story tonight," Bischel said. "He pitches himself into a couple of jams, but made some great pitches against some very good hitters to pick himself up.”
Zach Kohn came in to close the game and threw five strikeouts in two innings to pick up his first save this season.
After spending the first 18 innings of the series trailing, EMU got off to a hot start in the final game of the series. By the beginning of the third inning, the Eagles controlled a 4-1 lead.
But CMU answered.
A three-run third inning for the Chippewas tied the game at four runs apiece, but EMU scored two in the fourth and one in the fifth to take back the lead, 7-4.
The Chippewas fought back for the second time in the game and scored four runs in the sixth to take an 8-7 lead. CMU held on for the one-run victory.
Bischel was forced to go to the bullpen early after some early struggles from starter Jordan Patty, who pitched 1 2/3 innings and issued four runs on six hits.
Grant Frazier relieved Patty and pitched 1 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on four hits.
Freshman Ryan Palmblad entered after Frazier and controlled the game from there. He tossed 5 2/3 innings and only allowed one run on one hit while striking out five. Palmblad earned his third win of the season.
The Chippewas will put their 11 game winning streak to the test this week as they finish out the regular season. Michigan State will visit Theunissen Stadium at 4 p.m. May 14 for CMU's final nonconference game.