Patty breaks scoreless inning record, Chippewas rally late to win series opener
Though they looked down and out, Central Michigan once again found a way to win.
With just one hit through five innings, the Chippewas were poised for a quiet night. However, the offense once again rallied and the pitching worked out of some trouble, giving CMU (29-11, 21-4) a 7-3 win to open a crucial four-game Mid-American Conference series against Ball State (28-13, 19-6).
The Chippewas, winners of their last nine conference games, now own a two-game lead over the Cardinals for the top spot in the MAC. The teams clash three more times this weekend.
"I just thought we really battled well and competed well," CMU coach Jordan Bischel said. "We fell behind twice and just kept grinding."
CMU starter Jordan Patty retired the first five hitters to break the program's record for consecutive scoreless innings. However, the Cardinals got to him in the third, using back-to-back two-out hits to scratch across an early run.
The Chippewas answered quickly after senior catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell reached on an error. Junior third baseman Aidan Shepardson showed bunt and promptly pulled back, drilling the first pitch he saw into the left-center gap.
Shepardson took second while Lockwood-Powell took third. Lockwood-Powell scored when junior second baseman Mario Camilletti was hit by a pitch, but that one run was all CMU could muster.
Ball State countered with two more runs in the fourth against Patty. Aaron Simpson, brother of CMU shortstop Justin, broke the 1-1 tie with a sacrifice fly to score Ryan Peltier. Cardinal catcher Chase Sebby followed with a double to score Trenton Quartermaine and make the score 3-1.
After being held quiet for two innings, the Chippewa bats rallied in the bottom of the sixth. Garrett Navarra dropped in a double in between three Ball State fielders and redshirt freshman Jakob Marsee followed by smacking a game-tying two-run home run.
Navarra broke the 3-3 tie with a base hit to right in the seventh. Marsee reached on an error, scoring Gilles. Junior outfielder Chase Rollin broke the game open with a two-run single, making it 7-3.
"We just hang together," Bischel said. "We didn't play perfectly, we made some mistakes. We just hang together and stay behind each other and did a really nice job competing."
Ball State loaded the bases in the top of the ninth against sophomore Ian Leatherman, but were unable to add a run during last call.
Patty (W, 7-1) pitched seven innings, striking out three and allowing three runs. His scoreless inning streak ended at 41 1/3 innings.
"I wasn't really thinking about it," Patty said. "If it's gonna happen it's gonna happen. Can't force something that may not be there, no matter how bad you want it."
Marsee led the Chippewas with three RBI while Rollin had two.
John Baker (L, 5-3) pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Cardinals, allowing six runs on seven hits while striking out seven.
The Chippewas and Cardinals will play a doubleheader Saturday, with game one scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Right-handers Andrew Taylor and Cameron Brown are scheduled to start on the mound for CMU.