Baseball blanks Ball State in 5-0 victory


The Central Michigan baseball team faces Northern Illinois March 30 at Theunissen Stadium.

Behind the strength of junior Cam Brown’s pitching and a five-run seventh inning, the Central Michigan baseball team (23-7, 7-1 Mid-American Conference) won, 5-0, over Ball State (19-11, 4-2 MAC) in a 1 p.m. matchup at Theunissen Stadium on April 6.

Scoring was hard to come by in the game, and CMU squandered multiple opportunities to push runs across the plate early. Manager Jordan Bischel and the Chippewas stayed calm, and in the bottom of the seventh, they capitalized in a big way.

“We tell our hitters that if you keep putting pressure on, eventually you’re gonna break through,” Bischel said. “We’d much rather leave the bases loaded than have no one on, and we try to preach that there’s nine innings and you gotta stay the course.”

“We did a good job of that today.”

How it happened

Brown retired the first batters six batters he faced, not allowing any solid contact through the first two innings of work.

However, the Chippewas couldn’t get much going offensively in the early innings either.

In the top of the third Brown gave up a single, and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second. With two outs, Ball State hit a bullet straight up the middle, but Brown snagged the line drive with a knee-jerk reaction.

CMU managed to advance runners to second and third base in both the third and fourth innings after beautiful sacrifice bunts. The Chippewas couldn’t convert on either opportunity, striking out to end each frame.

The first run of the game didn’t come until the bottom of the seventh. Junior infielder Zach Heeke walked, and then sophomore shortstop Zavier Warren laced a hit just inside the third base line that the left fielder mishandled up against the side wall. 

Heeke put on the burners to try scoring from first -- and promptly collided with the Ball State third baseman, who was standing directly on third base. The field umpire awarded Heeke an extra base, making the score 1-0 in favor of CMU.

The Chippewas weren’t done in the inning, loading the bases and plating two more runs on walks to sophomore outfielder Chase Rollin and senior catcher Evan Kratt. CMU then extended the lead to 5-0 after senior designated hitter David Cole belted a two-run double into left field.

Brown made his way through the first seven innings with hardly any trouble, but in the top of the eighth he hit two Cardinal batters. Bischel opted to keep Brown in the game and he forced a foul ball pop-out to give the Chippewas two outs before being replaced by junior Grant Frazer. 

“I felt (Brown) deserved a chance to finish that outing on a strong note,“ Bischel said. “We really trusted him to get that out, and he came through.”

Frazer ended the threat in the eighth with a strikeout. In the top of the ninth, he returned to the mound and closed the deal by retiring all three Ball State batters.

Cole led the offensive charge with two hits and two RBI, while Warren added two hits and an RBI.

The Chippewas forced nine walks in addition to their nine hits on the afternoon.

Brown got the win and moves to 6-0 on the season. He went 7 2/3 innings, pitching shutout baseball and giving up four hits while striking out seven. Frazier recorded his first save of the season.

Up next

CMU will face off against the Cardinals on April 7 at Theunissen Stadium in a noon game. The Chippewas would complete the three-game series sweep with a win.