Baseball beats Kent State to take sole possession of first in MAC West

The Central Michigan baseball team racked up 19 hits and used an early lead to beat Kent State 11-7 Friday at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio.

With the win, CMU (19-12, 9-1 MAC) moves into sole possession of first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division after Toledo lost to Bowling Green 20-15.

Senior right-hander Jesse Hernandez earned his fifth win of the season, giving up five earned runs on nine hits in five innings pitched.

For the first time in more than a week, the Chippewas got on the scoreboard first following a solo home run by senior Billy Anderson (3-for-5, two runs batted in and four runs scored) in the third inning. CMU socred four runs in the fourth, highlighted by a two-out, two-run triple from junior Brendan Emmett (3-for-5, two RBIs).

“We had a game plan and, after the first time around, we got some good pitches to hit,” said coach Steve Jaksa. “We got the home run and the big two-out hit and, even after all that, we needed to continue all the way through the game because they kept pushing us back.”

After CMU added a run in the fifth and sixth innings and looked to take full control, Kent State took advantage of pitch-location issues by Hernandez to score four runs and cut CMU’s lead to 7-5.

The Chippewas combined for six of their 19 hits to score two runs in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to extend their lead and put the game out of reach.

“We just need to keep doing that,” Jaksa said. “We have a good approach at the plate and the guys believe they are going to get hits. We needed to keep scoring runs and they responded.”

Freshman reliever Dietrich Enns came in for Hernandez and allowed one hit in 2 and 2/3 innings. Sophomore Trent Howard earned his fourth save of the season.

Senior Dale Cornstubble, one of six CMU players to have a multi-hit game, went 3-for-6 with three RBIs.

Game 2 of the series is at 1 p.m. Saturday.