Chippewas split doubleheader with WMU, remain in first place tie
Andrew Taylor was lights out in game one. Game two wasn't as successful.
Behind the dominant effort from the redshirt freshman right-hander, Central Michigan was able to salvage a game in Saturday's doubleheader against Western Michigan. Ball State, who currently shares first place with CMU, split its doubleheader as well.
CMU won the first game of the doubleheader 11-0 but lost the second 10-3 Saturday at Robert J. Bobb stadium in Kalamazoo.
Taylor faced his toughest jam in the first inning when WMU put runners at first and second with one out. However, he induced a double play off the bat of Sean O'Keefe to end the inning.
The Chippewas opened the scoring in the top of the third when sophomore shortstop Justin Simpson drew a bases-loaded walk. Simpson, who leads the Chippewas in RBI with 38, would single to score another run in the seventh.
CMU would score in every inning from the third on, while Taylor limited the Bronco bats. Taylor (W, 9-3) allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out seven across six innings. Redshirt freshman Clayton Brock handled the final inning, striking out three in the seventh.
Four different Chippewas drove in two runs, including leadoff man Mario Camilletti. Zach Heeke, who struck out in each of his three at-bats in game one and was 1-for-20 across the last seven games, broke out with two hits.
Bronco starter Easton Sikorski (L, 4-3) allowed six runs on eight hits across four innings. Hayden Berg, his replacement, allowed five runs on 10 hits in three innings of relief.
Senior right-hander Cam Brown struggled for a second consecutive start. A two-out error by third baseman Aidan Shepardson kickstarted a three-run first inning for the Broncos.
The Chippewas rallied in the top of the second to tie the game at three thanks to a bases-loaded walk from Camilletti and a two-run single from Simpson. The score remained tied until the bottom of the third when WMU centerfielder Blake Dunn led off the inning with a solo shot.
CMU couldn't get any closer, and WMU began to pour it on in the bottom of the fourth. The Broncos scored two on a double from Justin McIntyre to make it 6-3. Brown (L, 6-2) left with one out in the fifth, and a two-out single for Jimmy Allen off of Logan Buczkowski made it 8-3.
Brown finished with eight runs allowed, only three of which were earned, in 4 1/3 innings pitched. He allowed six hits and walked five while striking out just one.
WMU starter Brady Miller (W, 1-6) pitched all seven innings and allowed six hits while striking out three.
Drew Lechnir and Zach Gilles each singled in the top of the seventh, but Garrett Navarra popped out to end the game.
CMU and WMU play one more game in their weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. and each team's starter is to be announced.