Baseball can't repeat walkoff at Clash at Comerica, moves on to Ball State
DETROIT — The scene was set for the magic to be recreated.
Runners stood on second and third with two outs in the ninth inning. The Central Michigan baseball team was a base hit away from walking off the Comerica Park field for a second straight season with a win over Michigan State.
Freshman right fielder Daniel Robinson lined out to second. He then lined out with the bases loaded in the 11th. Three innings later, the Spartans walked across the field victorious.
MSU scored four runs in the top of the 14th inning and the Chippewas failed to respond in the bottom half. CMU lost 7-3 in the 2016 Clash at Comerica at Comerica Park in Detroit.
After a four hour and 38 minute game in front of 550 people, it was CMU's first loss in to Michigan State in the annual Detroit game since 2012.
“It was a heck of a ballgame," said Head Coach Steve Jaksa. "If you came down to Comerica
to watch a good college ballgame, you found it. Overall, I was really pleased
with how our guys played. I thought we scrapped like hell, we played hard."
No players were made available for comment after the game.
The Spartans grabbed the lead in the 14th inning when junior left-handed pitcher Jimmy McNamara surrendered a two-run double to Brandon Hughes to make the game 5-3. MSU added two more runs off a sacrifice fly and a RBI single.
“It’s a game," Jaksa said. "They blooped one in there to start the 14th and that got the thing going. I would have rather (Robinson) bloop one in there instead of two line drives. From that standpoint, I've got nothing to be disappointed in with that kind of effort.”
CMU trailed 3-2 from the third inning to the seventh inning. Sophomore shortstop Zach McKinstry singled with one out before sophomore left fielder Daniel Jipping doubled to right field. A throwing error by MSU rightfielder Kris Simonton allowed McKinstry to cross home plate and to tie the game at 3-3.
The Chippewas did not score a run the rest of the game.
CMU was led on the mound by freshman right-hander Dazon Cole. In his second career start Wednesday, surrendered three runs and walked five in five innings.
“Right now, he’s a little inconsistent, that’s all," Jaska said. "His stuff was really good again. Sometimes he threw a good changeup, sometimes it wasn’t good. Sometimes he threw a really great breaking ball. Overall, I thought he did a really nice job."
The Chippewas received eight scoreless innings of relief from sophomore Colton Bradley, senior Morgan Oliver and junior Jordan Grosjean. Bradley, appearing in his third game this season, starting pitching this summer. Oliver began pitching this season after not throwing since high school, Jaksa said.
He added the trio was "outstanding" and gave his team an opportunity to win the game, but the team could not capitalize.
“We had a couple of opportunities and we hit line drives in those opportunities," Jaska said. "It just didn’t work out.”
Clashing with the Cards
Jaksa said this weekend's upcoming home series against Ball State will be a test for his club. Ball State is second in the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 7-2 record (21-12 overall). CMU is 2-4 in the MAC (7-26 overall) and sits fifth in the MAC West Division.
“Every game’s a new game," Jaksa said. "You can look at it that way. When the season’s over, I’ll go back and revisit the whole thing but right now, we’re fighting like hell go get ready and we think in the second half of the season we can get things turned around.”
Senior right-handed pitcher Sean Renzi will make his fifth start of the season against the Cardinals on Friday. He is 2-4 with a 5.94 ERA this season. Jaksa said his team will have to "play their butts off" behind Renzi on Friday.
The Chippewas have now suffered two consecutive extra-inning losses, after losing 2-1 to Northern Illinois in 10 innings during a doubleheader on Saturday.
CMU is "spent" physically and emotionally, Jaksa said. He said Wednesday's practice will include Wednesday's workout will include individual workouts, watching film of Wednesday's game and a scouting report of Ball State.
Jaksa said his team has to be ready to play against the Cardinals this weekend.
“The effort, the attitude, the hustle, the will to win, those things can’t ever change," Jaksa said. "Otherwise the game just steamrolls you.”