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Northern Illinois hands baseball worst loss of MAC play, 18-6

After losing two of three games at Kent State last weekend, the Central Michigan baseball team returned to Theunissen Stadium Friday, one game out of first place in the Mid-American Conference.

The Northern Illinois Huskies, however, spoiled the homecoming, defeating CMU 18-6. in game one of a three-game series.

CMU falls to 23-21 on the season and 11-5 in MAC play. Despite losing three of its last four games, the Chippewas still sit atop the West Division.

A five-run second inning put Central Michigan in a significant hole early. A three-run third inning and another five-run inning in the sixth combined to give CMU its worst conference loss of the season.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Dazon Cole (2-5) got the start for Central Michigan, but lasted only 2 1/3 innings. The Pontiac native surrendered eight runs on 10 hits and two walks.  

Cole was pulled in the third inning for sophomore Michael Brettell who pitched a near-perfect 1 2/3 innings. Sophomore Jack Collins and junior Braxton Markele came on in relief and surrendered ten runs combined.

Freshman Cameron Brown pitched the final out of the eighth inning and finished off the game. He gave up one hit and one walk in six batter faced.

Head coach Steve Jaksa said he had some thoughts on why Cole struggled, but wanted to wait to confirm them. Jaksa, however, did say he was disappointed in his bullpen’s efficiency Friday.

“I know we were down 8-0, but our bullpen didn’t keep (them) at eight runs,” he said. “We can score runs, but we never stopped them. We needed someone to go out there and stop them and put some goose eggs out there and give us a chance.

Trailing 5-0 in the bottom of the second inning, CMU had its best chance early to get back into the game with the bases loaded. But senior Alex Borglin struck out looking and the Chippewas failed to score a run.

NIU starting pitcher George Faue pitched six innings and allowed three runs on eight hits.

Junior Nick Stowkowski pinched hit in the seventh inning and delivered a two-run home run to left field. Zach Heeke, Evan Kratt and Zach Gilles delivered the team’s remaining RBIs.

Northern Illinois out-hit Central Michigan 19-9. Huskies’ right fielder Jason Gasser drove in six runs on his own, while first baseman Tommy Hook added three more.

To add insult to injury, CMU committed two costly errors on defense in the contest.

“We haven’t been beat in the league like this all year,” Jaksa said. “My perspective is it’s disappointing. Nobody likes to get beat like that. We certainly don’t want to get beat like that. But we have to come back and tie the series up tomorrow.”

What’s Next

The Chippewas and Huskies meet for game two at 2 p.m. Saturday. Sophomore Pat Leatherman (5-4. 4.5 ERA) will take the mound.