Timely hitting in late innings proves to be the difference for baseball team
Timely hitting proved to be the difference Sunday as the CMU baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Mid-American Conference opponent Akron.
Trailing 8-4 while heading into the ninth inning, coach Steve Jaksa made a decision to pinch hit for senior Ricky Clark (.304 average) and junior Robbie Harman. The two infielders had struggled offensively, combining to go 1-for-6.
The lineup change paid off as freshmen Jordan Dean and Jordan Adams connected on consecutive singles that started a five-run rally and third consecutive come-from-behind win against Akron.
“Somebody had to lead and get on base, and that’s what I told Dean,” Jaksa said. “It doesn’t matter when you got the hit, it just mattered that somebody got it. They (Akron) hadn’t seen them and they don’t know how to pitch to those guys.”
The hits did not end there, as senior Billy Anderson and junior Brendan Emmett continued the rally, scoring CMU’s first two runs of the inning. Senior Dale Cornstubble, who finished 2-for-5, got his biggest hit of the game to cut Akron’s lead to one, with everyone in Theunissen Stadium sensing the Chippewas would pull off another comeback.
An infield single from senior James Teas, who had a walk-off hit in Saturday’s 8-7 extra-innings win, tied the game and set up junior Matt Faiman’s game-winning double.
“You’ve got some guys in the lineup that can swing the bat a little bit and can be dangerous,” Jaksa said. “You’ve got to have some good hitters to be able to come back in a game like this.”
Faiman, who struggled early in the season, had seven RBIs on 9-of-13 hitting this weekend.
The outfielder was an integral part in Saturday’s win, going 4-for-5 with five RBIs and a home run in the eighth inning. After Teas reached base on an error in the ninth inning, Faiman — down to the final out of the game — kept the game alive with a two-run double to bring CMU within one of Akron.
Enter senior second baseman Ricky Clark, who finished 2-for-5. Clark got his biggest hit of the season, a blooper over the head of the shortstop, to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
Much like in Sunday’s win, Cornstubble also had a presence in the ninth-inning comeback. He picked up a one-out single through the left side to start it.
“Everybody did the same thing we did (Saturday) in the bottom of the ninth,” Faiman said. “We just stayed within ourselves and put the ball in play.”