Baseball utilizes strong offensive performance to top Oakland in nonconference tilt


Junior third baseman Zach Heeke waits at home plate as sophomore designated hitter Griffin Lockwood-Powell rounds third after hitting a homerun against Oakland May 7 at Theunissen Stadium.

After another Mid-American Conference sweep of Bowling Green last weekend, the Central Michigan baseball team continued its winning ways.

The Chippewas (35-12, 16-5 MAC) pushed their winning streak to seven with a 14-3 win over Horizon League foe Oakland (10-31, 8-13 Horizon) on May 7 at Theunissen Stadium. 

A combined pitching effort helped CMU defeat the Golden Grizzlies for the second time this season. The first was an April 9 thrashing to the tune of 24-10 in Rochester. 

Starter senior left-hander Jack Collins pitched the longest, as he worked through 2 2/3 innings. He struck out two, only allowed one hit and no runs in his outing. 

However, it was sophomore right-hander Logan Buczkowski that was credited with the win (3-0) as he, like Collins, struck out two batters and only allowed one hit. The difference was Buczkowski allowed two hits in 1 1/3 innings of work. 

Coach Jordan Bischel said that utilizing six different pitchers was helpful for each one to improve and gain confidence. 

"Today was an important day for our pitching staff," Bischel said. "We've pitched really well on the weekend the last two weeks and when that happens, you don't get a lot of relievers in the game."

How it happened

Sophomore shortstop Zavier Warren was strong for the Chippewas, as he knocked the game's first hit in the first inning. He later drove in the game's first run in the third when he scored sophomore left fielder Gaoshua Williams with a sacrifice fly.

Then, sophomore designated hitter Griffin Lockwood-Powell left his mark on the game. 

Lockwood-Powell, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota native, ripped on an offering from Oakland starter Cooper Dundas (L, 0-1) and did not miss. The ball carried over the right field wall on a line for a two-run home run and his 61st RBI of the season. 

In the fourth inning, the Golden Grizzlies would return fire. Second baseman Mario Camilletti came around to score after drawing a leadoff walk. He was driven in by designated hitter Matt Dileo. 

Later in the inning, OU loaded the bases with just one out and plated Dileo on a near double play to cut its deficit to 3-2, but Buczkowski worked his way out of the jam only allowing the one run. 

CMU used its half of the fourth inning to pay the favor back to the Golden Grizzlies. 

Freshman first baseman Garrett Navara led the inning off with a base hit and later scored on an error from OU shortstop Mike McGee. He was attempting to throw out junior third baseman Zach Heeke but bobbled the throw. 

Next, Warren drove in Williams again with a groundout and his second RBI of the game for a 5-2 edge. Heeke later scored on a wild pitch from Dundas to cap off a three-run fourth inning.

CMU scored two more runs in its fifth inning to extend its lead, 8-2. After loading the bases with no outs, Navara struck out swinging and Cleveland flied out to second. 

Williams continued his strong performance with a two-out, two-run single that scored Lockwood-Powell and senior right fielder Jacob Crum. 

Senior catcher Blake Cleveland joined the offensive party in the sixth inning when the Chippewas loaded the bases for the second consecutive inning. He laced a 2-2 offering from OU right-handed reliever Max Lebrato to deep right field. As a result, Cleveland cleared the bases and extended the CMU lead, 12-3.

Bischel credited his team for being disciplined at the plate against the Golden Grizzlies. 

"The last two weeks we've had good at bats and that continued today," he said. "We stayed disciplined and made (Oakland) earn their outs and that was able to piece together some runs for us."

Up next

The Chippewas are right back at it tomorrow as they face Concordia in a makeup from an April 17 rainout. First pitch is slated for 4:30 p.m. at Theunnissen Stadium. 

However, the forecast does not look promising as there is rain predicted around 4 p.m.