Baseball earns sole possession of First in MAC West
It looked as though the CMU baseball team would lose its first Mid-American Conference series of the season Sunday.
It faced an early 3-0 deficit against Kent State and had not scored in 11 innings dating back to Friday.
But a four-run third inning ended the drought and propelled the Chippewas to a 7-6 win in front of 222 at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio. With Friday’s win, the Chippewas took two out of three games against the Golden Flashes.
“We won in an environment that’s a tough place to play,” said coach Steve Jaksa. “We really showed up to play a fine ballgame. The guys played with a lot character and showed a lot of resistance — we played to win.”
CMU (20-13, 10-2 MAC), having won all four MAC series to date, holds sole possession of first place atop the MAC West following Ball State’s 11-7 loss Sunday against Buffalo.
Consecutive walks in the third inning brought new life to the team, which took advantage with back-to-back singles from senior Dale Cornstubble and sophomore Nate Theunissen, getting the Chippewas on the board with two runs.
A double by senior James Teas and single by sophomore Scott Phillion (1-for-4, one run batted in) added two more and gave CMU a 4-3 lead.
“We’ve been saying all year that we have to play all nine innings,” Teas said. “We put runs up on the board right after they scored. It shows a lot about this team and the way they battled in the series.”
Teas (3-for-5, two runs scored) started the rally in the fifth inning with a single. Phillion and senior Ricky Clark (3-for-4, two RBIs) contributed with singles as CMU scored two more runs and appeared to take control of the game.
Kent State (20-18, 7-5 MAC), however, responded with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth to cut CMU’s lead back to one.
Both teams traded runs in the seventh and eighth innings before the Golden Flashes threatened in the ninth. With Kent State runners on first and third with two outs, sophomore closer Trent Howard got catcher David Lyon to fly out to center field.
Howard earned his fifth save of the season and second of the series, giving up one run on five hits in four innings pitched. Junior right-hander Jake Sabol (4-3) got the win, going five innings and allowing five runs on eight hits.
“We thought Jake really competed well out there and kept us in the ball game,” Jaksa said. “We knew that we had Trent ready to go and we fell back a little bit in the fifth inning. With only a one-run lead we, thought it was time to make that move.
“Trent said he could throw as many innings as we wanted, so we gave him the ball and he really pitched well for us down the stretch.”
CMU plays Michigan State at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Dow Diamond in Midland.
OTHER WEEKEND GAMES
CMU lost 13-0 Saturday, collecting just two hits. Sophomore Rick Dodridge (3-2, 4.82 ERA) took the loss, giving up nine runs on 12 hits in 3 and 1/3 innings.
The Chippewas won Game 1 of the series 11-7 Friday after opening up an early 5-0 lead. Senior Jesse Hernandez (5-1, 4.26 ERA) earned the win. Senior Billy Anderson went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and four runs scored and Cornstubble finished 3-for-6 with three RBIs.