Chippewa baseball wins series over nationally ranked West Virginia
After starting the season in a four-loss slump, Central Michigan baseball seems to have found its footing.
Coming off three straight wins, the Chippewas traveled to take on 23rd ranked West Virginia in a three-game series spanning two days. CMU took two of those three games, thanks to some outstanding pitching and timely hitting.
"West Virginia is talented and well-coached; beating them in a series on the road is not insignificant," coach Jordan Bischel said. "What makes it fun is how many contributors we had. I could not be more pleased with how we functioned as a team this weekend. It was great to see some really good hitters start to get on track."
Junior right-hander Jordan Patty delivered his best outing of the season and CMU converted clutch opportunities to win the first game of its series 5-3 Friday.
WVU opened the scoring with a two-run double from Matt McCormick in the bottom of the third. The Chippewas answered quickly with three runs in the top of the fourth, scoring one on a sacrifice fly from redshirt freshman Zach Lechnir and two more on a triple from redshirt freshman Kade Preston.
Redshirt freshman Drew Lechnir drove in a run with a walk in the top half of the sixth and senior Zach Heeke scored another with an RBI single in the top of the eighth to make it 5-2. McCormick hit a home run off of Ian Leatherman in the bottom of the ninth to cut the deficit, but it was too little, too late.
Patty (W, 1-0) pitched seven innings, striking out eight while allowing four hits. Leatherman struck out three and allowed only one hit, the home run, in two innings of relief for his second save of the season.
Left-hander Jackson Wolf took the loss for the Mountaineers (L, 1-1) after pitching five innings and allowing two hits and three runs.
CMU used two big innings and nearly seven innings of lights-out pitching from starter Andrew Taylor to rout the Mountaineers in the first game of a doubleheader, winning 12-4.
The Chippewas opened the scoring with five runs in the fourth inning. Freshman catcher Nick Dardas and sophomore shortstop Justin Simpson each drove in a run with singles. Junior left fielder Chase Rollin scored both Dardas and Simpson with a double, while freshman right fielder Jakob Marsee followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0.
CMU scored seven in the seventh inning. Dardas plated one run after reaching on an error and Simpson scored another with his RBI single. Rollin drove in Dardas with a sacrifice bunt and freshman Danny Wustenfeld followed with an RBI single. Preston drove in two more runs with a double and Zach Lechnir drove in the seventh run of the inning with a sacrifice fly.
Taylor (W, 2-1) pitched 6.1 innings and struck out 11 while allowing just three hits and walking three. Sophomore lefty Ryan Culley pitched a scoreless inning, as did junior right-hander Logan Buczkowski. J.T. Rogoszewski allowed four runs on four hits in 2/3 innings pitched.
Taylor was named Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Week for his performance.
Rollin led the Chippewas in RBI's with three, while Preston and Simpson each had two.
Jake Carr (L, 0-2) allowed five runs on 10 hits in four innings to take the loss for the Mountaineers. Dominic Ragazzo drove in two runs to lead WVU while Mikey Kluska and Alec Burns each had one RBI.
The Chippewas lost a back and forth affair in the night cap of Saturday's double header, falling on a walk-off home run from WVU's Kluska in the bottom of the 10th and suffering an 8-7 defeat.
CMU quickly built a 5-2 lead after two innings, scoring on RBI's from Mario Camilletti, Zach Gilles, Drew Lechnir and Simpson. The Mountaineers answered with a sacrifice fly from Victor Scott in the first and a home run from McGwire Holbrook.
A two-run single from Kluska and a single from Nick Blasick in the third inning tied the game for WVU against Chippewa starter Cameron Brown, who went four innings and allowed five runs on four hits and three walks. Garrett Navarra came in to relieve him and pitched two innings, allowing only one earned run.
Marsee singled in a run in the sixth to give the Chippewas the lead, however Kevin Brophy followed suit with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at six in the bottom half of the inning. The score would hold for the following three innings, sending it to extras.
Marsee once again drove in a run with a double in the 10th to give CMU a 7-6 lead, but Scott led off the bottom half of the inning with a walk against Grant Frazer (L, 0-2) and Kluska followed with a two-run shot to end the game.
CMU will travel to Dayton for a four-game series. The two teams will play one game Thursday, a doubleheader Friday and one game Saturday.