Opening split: Chippewa baseball splits home-opening doubleheader against Bowling Green
Last time Central Michigan played at Theunissen Stadium, the team clinched the 2019 Mid-American Conference regular season championship after defeating Miami (Ohio).
Almost 700 days later, 694 to be exact, the Chippewas finally came home to Theunissen Stadium.
However, Bowling Green spoiled CMU's homecoming in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday with a 3-2 victory. Then, CMU returned the favor with a 1-0 win in the second game.
CMU head coach Jordan Bischel said one of the biggest adjustments after playing more than 40 games in the past two seasons away from home was one some fans might not think about -- pitching first.
Other than the slight mental adjustment, Bischel said he was excited to have a taste of home for the first time in almost two years.
"It's just nice to be home," Bischel said. "Guys sleeping in their own beds, more parents able to come watch. My first year, we played awfully well at home. Biggest thing is that we have guys that have been in our program for two years that haven't played a home game. It's just nice those guys got a taste of playing on our home field."
GAME ONE KEY MOMENTS
After junior third baseman Mario Camilletti drew a four-pitch walk in the first inning, sophomore designated hitter Garrett Navarra ripped a home run to right field, giving CMU its only hit and a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
"Garrett is just an outstanding player," Bischel said. " ... He just keeps getting better, that's what's fun about him. He improves, pretty dynamic two-way guy with his pitching. Certainly that gave us a lift right away, first home game of the year, hit a home run. But, we couldn't get much going after that."
CMU could only muster three more baserunners -- two base on balls and one hit batsman -- for the rest of the first game.
BGSU, on the other hand, scored three runs in the fourth to take the lead and take the lead for good. Falcon catcher Tyler Haas ripped a bases-clearing, two RBI double to left field that CMU junior left fielder Chase Rollin struggled with in the corner.
Falcon third baseman Nathan Rose drove in the tie-breaking run to cap the scoring.
In the seventh, CMU had the winning run at the plate twice, but both sophomore shortstop Justin Simpson and Camilletti flew out in consecutive at-bats to end the game.
GAME ONE STATS
Redshirt freshman right-hander Andrew Taylor (L, 4-3) pitched all seven innings, striking out nine Falcons, issuing one walk while allowing three runs on five hits.
Andrew Abrahamowicz (W, 3-1) also went the distance, striking out three Chippewas but issued four walks. He allowed two runs on Navarra's home run.
"Give credit to Bowling Green," Bischel said. "They got a couple of big hits off Andrew, who's been awfully good all year, and were just a hit short."
GAME TWO KEY MOMENTS
After loading the bases with two hits and a walk, Navarra grounded into a double play to score Camilletti, giving CMU a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
The Chippewas had scoring opportunities in the second, fifth, seventh and eighth innings -- including a one-out, bases-loaded situation in the seventh, without scoring a run.
However, junior right-hander Jordan Patty navigated the Falcon lineup and retired the last nine of 10 batters he faced, pitching all nine innings for the Chippewas -- including an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
Patty also set down the Falcons in order in the ninth to seal the game.
GAME TWO STATS
Patty (W, 3-1) struck out seven Falcons in the second game while issuing two walks while allowing just four hits in a complete game, shutout effort.
Rigo Ramos (L, 1-3) allowed one run on four hits, issuing three walks and striking out one Chippewa. Griffin Parrill struck out a pair of Chippewas in 1 2/3 innings of relief work.
CMU and BGSU have another doubleheader scheduled for noon on Sunday at Theunissen Stadium. Senior right-hander Cam Brown is expected to start the first game on the mound for the Chippewas.