Baseball grinds out come from behind victory against Concordia with walk-off single


Senior outfielder David Cole is swarmed by teammates after hitting a walk-off single May 8 at Theunissen Stadium.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Central Michigan second baseman Jason Sullivan singled up the middle to put the tying run on first with one out against NAIA Concordia. 

An ensuing infield single advanced Sullivan to third with one out. CMU had the tying and game-winning run on base. 

After Sullivan came home to tie the game, David Cole hit a hard grounder up the middle that brought pinch runner Ty Rollin home from second to win the game.

The Chippewas (36-12, 16-5 Mid-American Conference) defeated the Cardinals (34-19, 14-8 Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference), 3-2, with a walk-off single May 8 at Theunissen Stadium.

Following the energetic final moments, first-year coach Jordan Bischel had high praise for his team's ninth inning performance as he broke down what led to the walk off.

“There were a lot of good things in that ninth inning,” Bischel said. "Jake hit a ball to the wall to start the ninth he tattooed it and the guy made a great play. Sullivan had a great at-bat he fought off a two-strike pitch and hit a bullet up the middle.”

“Heeke gets the hit and run going, the pitch he hit wasn’t even a strike and he got it in play. We put ourselves in a great spot there. We ran the bases actually pretty poorly today but we had a great baserunning play in the ninth when we really needed one, which was great. David who struggled to get the bunt down stepped up and picked himself up that at-bat with a big hit to walk it off.”

Freshman right-hander Ian Leatherman (1-0) took the mound for CMU against Cardinals starter Billy Blair (0-1), and it was an immediate pitching duel throughout the contest.

Leatherman pitched five innings allowing three hits, one run and striking out nine batters. For the Cardinals, Blair allowed only two hits after pitching 5 2/3.

“Great performance by Ian,” Bischel said. “He’s had a little bit of an up and down freshman year, but that’s what freshman years are about.”

The Cardinals were able to get a run in the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead. They were in position to add more runs before a diving stop by CMU second baseman ending the sixth inning with runners in scoring position.

The Cardinals added another run in the seventh inning to take a 2-0 lead.

CMU would respond, Griffin Lockwood-Powell led the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk and then advanced to second on a past ball. Another walk gave the Chippewas runners on first and second, their most runners in any one inning.

After a pitching change for CUAA David Cole earned a walk to load the bases for the Chippewas with two outs. Senior Evan Kratt was able to drive one run in to close the gap to just one run. After seven the Cardinals led 2-1.

The Chippewas stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth after Zach Gilles got caught in between second and third base.

Then, David Cole delivered the walk-off single for a CMU victory.

Ryan Palmblad was given the victory for the home team, and Jimmy McKane took the loss for the Cardinals.

The Chippewas will look to extend their eight-game win streak when they head to Ypsilanti, Michigan for a three-game series against Eastern Michigan May 10-12. 

CMU is currently first in the MAC standings, holding a two-game lead over Ball State.