Chippewas use potent offense to win opening series over UNLV


Sophomore outfielder Chase Rollins of Central Michigan's Mens' Baseball Team gets an early lead at third base against Miami May 16 at Theunissen Stadium.

A night after winning its season opener, Central Michigan played the second and third games of a four-game set against UNLV. 

The Chippewas put up a combined 20 runs over the Saturday doubleheader to clinch the series win over the Rebels. 

Following Saturday's doubleheader, the Chippewas suffered their first loss of the season in the final game of a four-game set at Earl E. Wilson Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Central Michigan left UNLV with a 3-1 record and will next head to Jacksonville State for a four-game series from Feb. 22-24. 

Here's a breakdown of each game in the Chippewas' opening series: 

Game one: 

Central Michigan defeated UNLV 12-9 in a back-and-forth affair. Ian Leatherman got the win for the Chippewas in relief. For more information on game one, click here

Game two: 

In similar fashion to Central Michigan's season-opening victory over UNLV, the Chippewas jumped out to an early lead, lost it, then rallied back and held on to defeat the Rebels, 12-8. Junior right-hander Cameron Miller (1-0) got the win, while Bradley Spooner (0-1) got the loss for the Rebels.

The Chippewas scored four runs in the third inning to open the scoring. Senior centerfielder Zach Gilles singled home two runs, junior shortstop Zavier Warren scored on an error and junior third baseman Chase Rollin drove in the fourth run with a base hit to left. 

UNLV scored two runs in the third and four in the fifth to take the lead, the go-ahead runs came in from a double from first baseman Austin Pfeifer. The Chippewas responded in the bottom of the seventh, taking the lead on Rollin's 2-run single. Rollin moved to third on an RBI single from Garrett Navarra and later stole home as part of a double-steal to give the Chippewas a 9-6 cushion. 

Gilles and Rollin would each drive in another run in the eighth inning to pad the lead, and the Chippewas were able to work around Eric Biagini's 2-run triple in the ninth inning off of junior Logan Buczkowksi to close out the victory. 

Senior Cam Brown got the start for the Chippewas, pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on six hits. Brown also struck out seven hitters and walked three. Miller pitched 3 2/3 innings, striking out five and allowing just two hits, to earn the win. 

Game three: 

Junior right-hander Jordan Patty had seen enough of the high-scoring shootouts. After the Chippewas had allowed 17 runs in their first two games, Patty toed the rubber in the second game of the doubleheader. Patty (1-0) shut down the Rebels offense, pitching seven innings of one-hit ball to earn his first win of the season. 

The Chippewa offense didn't miss a beat, jumping to a 2-0 lead in the third inning on freshman infielder Zach Lechnir's first collegiate home run. Senior infielder Zach Heeke, playing third base, singled to make it 3-0 and later scored on a groundout from Gilles to make it 4-0 heading into the sixth inning. 

Patty continued to lock down the Rebel offense, allowing only a first-inning bunt single from center fielder James Gamble and five walks in his seven innings. The Midland native also struck out six Rebels. 

Rollin continued his big day with an RBI single in the second inning, scoring Gilles. Freshmen Drew Lechnir and Aidan Shepardson each drove in a run later in the inning to give the Chippewas a 7-0 cushion. Heeke scored on an eighth-inning wild pitch to complete the scoring. 

Freshman right-hander Clayton Brock pitched the final two innings in relief of Patty, holding UNLV scoreless and striking out five while allowing three hits. 

Game four:

Central Michigan allowed seven unearned runs in the first inning in the final game on Sunday, rallied back to tie the game and ultimately fell 10-8 at the hands of the Rebels. The loss was CMU's first of the season. 

Sophomore right-hander Jarrod Melle got the start for the Chippewas on the mound, allowing all seven of the Rebels unearned runs. Leadoff man Edarian Williams reached on a throwing error by Heeke and scored on a two-out double by Biagini, kickstarting a two-out rally that would see the Rebels send 11 men to the plate. 

Melle didn't make it out of the inning, turning it over to freshman righty Andrew Taylor. The Chippewas would get on the scoreboard in the third inning, with Drew Lechnir scoring on a single from Warren. Biagini would double again to make it 8-1, however, the game was far from over. 

Rollin got the Chippewas started in the top of the fifth with a two-run single. Zach Lechnir followed that with an RBI fielder's choice to make it 8-4 heading into the sixth. Lockwood-Powell drove in one with a single in the sixth, then followed a Gilles RBI single with one of his own in the seventh. Gilles came around to score via throwing error on Lockwood-Powell's single, tying the game. 

The duo of Taylor and sophomore left-hander Ryan Palmblad held UNLV to just one run over 5 1/3 innings. Left-hander Tyler Hankins pitched two-thirds of an inning, then gave way to right-hander Grant Frazier. Frazier didn't have the same success he had on Friday, allowing two runs in the bottom of the eighth.

Central Michigan went down in order in the top of the ninth, the final out coming on Lockwood-Powell's swinging strikeout. Frazier (0-1) took the loss for the Chippewas while Spooner (1-1) got the win with 2 1/3 innings of relief. 

The Chippewas' series against JSU opens with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jim Case Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama.