Chippewas take one from Illinois State in weekend series
The Central Michigan baseball team won game three of its series against Illinois State to avoid a sweep Sunday.
In what was scheduled as a four game series until Friday’s game was cancelled. The Chippewas (13-6) lost both games of the Saturday doubleheader to the Redbirds (12-6) before rallying Sunday to earn a victory.
"I was really impressed with how our guys responded to a tough day yesterday," said CMU coach Jordan Bischel. "We handled adversity really well today."
The story of Saturday’s first game for CMU was missed opportunities. The Chippewas left 11 runners on base in the 7-2 loss.
The starting pitcher for the CMU was right-hander Pat Leatherman (3-0). Leatherman started the game off by walking Illinois State leadoff man John Rave. Rave scored later in the inning on a ball hit to second to make it a 1-0 game.
CMU tied the game up 1-1 after the top of the second thanks to a wild pitch by Redbird starting pitcher Brent Headrick (1-1). It was tight for much of the contest, with Leatherman pitching five innings and allowing two runs, while Headrick pitched six innings – allowing two runs.
In the eighth inning, Illinois State scored five runs off CMU pitcher Zach Kohn to take the lead and the eventual victory. Kohn (2-3) was given the loss and Illinois State pitcher Colton Johnson (3-0) collected the win.
The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader featured CMU starter Cameron Brown (4-0) going up against Illinois State starter Jeff Lindgren (2-1).
After a strong first inning, the Chippewas held a 3-0 lead. Illinois State responded with a run in the first, and after two innings, the CMU lead was 4-1.
In the fourth inning, momentum began to swing towards Illinois State when designated hitter Gunner Peterson hit a two-run home run to right field.
The Redbirds would score two more before bringing in Jacob Gilmore to try to close the game. Gilmore pitched two shutout innings and allowed only one hit to earn his fifth save of the season.
Illinois pitcher Jack Anderson got the win, and Central Michigan’s Cameron Miller was given the loss.
On Sunday, CMU had Tyler Hankins (3-0) start the game. He pitched well on his way to the win going 5 2/3 innings and only issuing two runs. Illinois State starting pitcher Matt Walker (1-2) had a nightmare outing, pitching 2 1/3 innings while allowing seven runs.
"(Hankins) came out sharp and gave us a great chance to win," Bischel said. "Tyler hasn't pitched in almost two weeks. He used that time to make a couple of slight adjustments that paid huge dividends in how he executed pitches today."
Central Michigan shortstop Zavier Warren propelled the team with his third inning grand slam, which gave the Chippewas a 5-0 lead. From there, CMU continued the offensive barrage, winning the game, 11-2.
Central Michigan will play Michigan State (3-15) at 4 p.m. March 20. The Chippewas will travel to East Lancing to face the Spartans who are currently on a five game losing streak.
Following that game, on March 22, CMU will travel to Athens, Ohio to begin Mid-American Conference play against the Ohio Bobcats (4-13).