Defensive woes cost baseball team in loss to Oakland

The Central Michigan baseball team let a two-run eighth-inning lead slip away Wednesday, losing 10-9 against Oakland University in Rochester.

Oakland only needed two hits off sophomore reliever Zach Cooper in the eighth inning as errors by freshman second baseman Jordan Dean and sophomore catcher William Arnold allowed the Golden Grizzlies to score three times and come from behind to win the game.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t play a little bit better defense,” said coach Steve Jaksa. “We had a couple of defensive mistakes that we weren’t able to pitch over today and led to some costly runs. We made one mistake in the fifth and a couple in the eighth and you just can’t do that.”

Back and forth throughout — the game featured seven lead changes — CMU got on the board in the second inning with a three-run home run by sophomore Sam Russell after Oakland jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first.

It did not last long, however, as the Golden Grizzlies answered with three runs of their own in the third, including a two-run home run by Ryan Waldhart (2-for-3, three runs batted in, three runs scored), to reclaim the lead.

“We never seemed to put them away, nor did they put us away,” Jaksa said. “We swung the bat well but, overall, we weren’t able to keep them down long enough today.”

Both teams scored three runs in the fifth before junior Robbie Harman’s double down the third-base line in the sixth tied the game 7-7. An inning later, the Chippewas took an 8-7 lead with an RBI-single by senior Ricky Clark.

CMU (23-16) added another run in the eighth before relinquishing its lead late.

Junior right-hander Jake Sabol (4-5) took the loss despite not giving up a run in 2 and 2/3 innings pitched. He relieved sophomore starter Rick Dodridge, who allowed seven runs on eight hits in 4 and 1/3 innings.

“You always hope he does a little bit better,” Jaksa said of Dodridge’s third consecutive poor pitching performance. “I thought he was better than he was most recently but still not as good as he was (at the beginning of the season) or as good as we need him to be down the stretch here.”

Senior James Teas went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, and sophomore Nate Theunissen finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored. Junior Matt Faiman (2-for-5, one RBI, two runs scored) hit his third home run of the season in the fifth.

Center fielder Tim Ryan went 4-for-5 and scored three times for Oakland (10-24).

The Chippewas travel this weekend to DeKalb, Ill., for a three-game series against Northern Illinois.