Sacrifice bunt carries Chippewas to MAC Tournament win against Toledo

Jason Sullivan scores to give Central Michigan a 7-6 walk-off win over Toledo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament on May 23.

With Jason Sullivan on third base, one out and the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Blake Cleveland laid down a sacrifice bunt.

Sullivan raced home and slid across the plate, giving the Central Michigan baseball team a 7-6 walk-off win against Toledo at Sprenger Stadium to open Mid-American Conference Tournament action. 

"Wouldn't be there if (Sullivan's) not on third," Cleveland said. "I knew coach was about to call that (bunt). I was looking for (the sign) and he gave it and was able to execute it."

CMU starting pitcher Dazon Cole gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks across six innings. After Jack Collins allowed three runs in 1.1 innings of relief work, the ball was turned over to freshman left-hander Brandon Reed. 

The Rockets were hitless against Reed in the final 1.2 innings, earning him his first career win with the Chippewas.

"It was a roller coaster, really," said CMU head coach Steve Jaksa. "Brandon Reed came in, shut the door on them and gave us a chance in the ninth. A perfect bunt there by Blake and we go home happy."

Down 6-4 in the eighth, Chase Rollin delivered on a pinch-hit double to put runners on second and third bases. Zach Heeke recorded an RBI. Rollin scored on an error to tie the game, 6-6. 

The Chippewas (27-28-1) advance to take on No. 1 Kent State at 2 p.m. on May 24. 

Kent State (36-16) finished the MAC regular season on top behind Nick Kanavas, who hit .367 with one home run and 32 RBI. During the regular season, CMU beat the Golden Flashes once in a three-game series May 7-8 at Theunissen Stadium in Mount Pleasant. Tim DalPorto is arguably the most well-rounded player for the Golden Flashes, hitting for both contact and power. DalPorto, through 45 games played, is batting .319 with a team-high seven home runs and 46 RBI.