Fourth consecutive comeback bid falls short, baseball loses 5-3 against Illinois-Chicago

Two runs in each of the first two innings allowed Illinois-Chicago to defeat the Central Michigan baseball team 5-3 Wednesday at Les Miller Field in Chicago.

Junior right-hander Bryce Morrow (1-2) took the loss for CMU, allowing four earned runs on five hits in six innings pitched.

Illinois-Chicago took an early 2-0 lead on one hit in the first inning after Morrow walked the first two batters he faced. UIC used a two-out rally in the second to string together three consecutive hits to add two more and put the Chippewas in an early hole.

“The first walk was a tad disappointing,” said coach Steve Jaksa. “You don’t want to walk any of them, but the second one was a little competitive – like a 10-pitch at-bat. He kept fouling it off, got the walk, and they were able to bring in a couple runs.”

CMU (18-12) started its comeback effort in the fourth inning when freshman Jordan Dean connected on an RBI single. Dean (1-for-2, two RBIs) also had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to cut UIC’s lead to 4-2.

Senior James Teas’ home run in the seventh inning brought the Chippewas within a run, giving flashbacks of the way the team won its series last week against Akron. The Flames, however, responded with a run of their own in the eighth to stop the bleeding.

“There was never a feeling we were out of the game,” Jaksa said. “We felt we were getting good hits and we had guys on base in or two of the innings.”

CMU threatened in the ninth with a pair of base runners but senior Dale Cornstubble hit into a double play to end the game and the team’s attempt at a fourth consecutive comeback win.

Junior Matt Faiman went 3-for-5 and sophomore Sam Russell finished 3-for-4 for the day. Junior right-hander Rafael Garcia earned the win for UIC (11-18).

The Chippewas resume Mid-American Conference at 3 p.m. on Friday when they travel to Kent State for a three-game weekend series.