Early offense good enough for Chippewas to win on senior day
Central Michigan was thrown a tough punch.
Redshirt senior starting pitcher Cam Brown allowed two Eastern Michigan runs in the top of the first inning. Yet, the demeanor of the dugout never changed.
And before Brown took the mound again, the game was tied.
CMU rallied early and put the Eagles away after trailing. Each member of the starting lineup reached base, creating plenty of opportunities. The Chippewas (36-16, 27-9) beat EMU (20-27, 14-22), 8-4, Sunday afternoon on senior day at Theunissen Stadium.
Brown allowed hits to the first two batters he faced, the first of which scored on an RBI groundout from Christian Bault. EMU right fielder Gabe Denton, a Clare native, singled to score Nick Jones and make it 2-0 Eagles.
CMU responded quickly with help from the Eagles defense. An error on Jones put runners on second and third, both of whom scored on a base hit from senior catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell.
In the bottom of the second, CMU used four consecutive hits to score three runs. Mario Camilletti singled to drive in a run, chasing EMU starter Scot Granzotto (L, 3-2) after just one inning of work.
Brown (W, 7-2) found a groove as the game progressed. After allowing four hits the first time through the order, Brown scattered just four in the his next four innings. The Pontiac, Illinois native induced two inning-ending double plays.
"That was just an amazing performance by Cam," CMU coach Jordan Bischel said. "To go out and give up some hard hit balls early and just keep attacking and let the defense play. Story of that game was Cam Brown for sure."
Brown was pulled after allowing a leadoff single in the sixth inning. He received a standing ovation.
Senior outfielder Chase Rollin led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double, taking second as EMU left fielder Evan Sines missed with a diving attempt. Junior infielder Aidan Shepardson drove him in two pitches later, lacing a sharp double to left to make it 7-3.
With two outs and runners at the corners in the bottom of the seventh, redshirt freshman outfielder Jakob Marsee was caught leaning toward second. As Marsee was caught between first and second, sophomore shortstop Justin Simpson sprinted across home plate. Marsee was the final out of the inning, but Simpson's run counted and extended the Chippewa advantage to five runs.
The Chippewas honored 12 seniors in a postgame ceremony: Brown, Lockwood-Powell, Rollin, infielder Zach Heeke, outfielder Zach Gilles, pitchers Jordan Patty, J.T. Rogoszewski, Logan Buczkowski, Grant Frazer and Tyler Hankins and infielder Aaron Esparaza.
"Theunissen (Stadium) means everything to me," Brown said. "CMU means everything to me. Mount Pleasant means everything to me. And just to have this chance, it just means the world. So grateful."
Shepardson led the way with three hits. Lockwood-Powell had three RBI. Brown struck out two in six-plus innings pitched while allowing four runs, three of which were earned. Frazer pitched three scoreless innings in relief, scattering three hits while striking out one.
Camilletti inched within one of the program's single-season walks record, drawing his 58th of the season.
CMU travels to Toledo for a four-game series to end the season.