CMU baseball sweeps doubleheader with Miami (Ohio)
Behind a relentless approach at the plate and a ferocious pitching performance, Central Michigan won two games against Miami (Ohio) Saturday at Theunissen Stadium.
In game one, the Chippewas (27-11 overall, 19-4 Mid-American Conference) did just enough to back redshirt freshman right-hander Andrew Taylor's fantastic performance in a 2-1 win. Game two featured a late rally from the offense against the RedHawk (19-18, 12-11) bullpen in a 6-3 win.
With professional scouts in the building to watch Miami starter Sam Bachman, it was Taylor who stole the show. The Alto native (W, 7-3) tossed a complete game, allowing five hits while striking out seven.
Known for rising early, CMU's offense had a tough go the first time through the order. Playing with a 1-0 deficit after Miami strung together two singles and an error, the first seven Chippewas were set down in order.
Bachman (L, 2-2), MLB.com's 14th ranked draft prospect, drilled Aidan Shepardson with a two strike pitch to give CMU its first baserunner with one out in the third.
Shepardson moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Chase Rollin and scored on a two-out single by Mario Camilletti to tie the game. The Chippewas took the lead on a well-executed suicide squeeze bunt from Justin Simpson to score Zach Gilles in the bottom of the fourth.
The RedHawks would threaten in the sixth when Brian Zapp reached on a leadoff walk. Zapp was replaced by pinch runner Benji Brokemond, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. However, Taylor induced a pop-out and Rollin ran down a fly ball in left to end the inning.
In the seventh, with Taylor still on the mound, Jacob Hensor reached on an infield single with one out. Taylor once again slammed the door on the rally, striking out Dalton Back and getting Mac Hippenhammer to ground out to end the game.
Miami took the lead early, tacking on a run before the Chippewas recorded an out. Leadoff hitter Benji Brokemond singled, stole second and scored when an errant pickoff attempt from catcher Drew Stengren sailed into center field.
CMU retook the lead in the third, scoring two on a single from Garrett Navarra after loading the bases with three walks. Rollin, Camilletti and Gilles all walked before Navarra drove in two with a two-out line drive to right.
Cam Brown, who came into the game on a string of three consecutive complete games, hit a snag in the top of the fourth. Will Vogelgesang led off the inning with a solo shot off the scoreboard, and Zapp made it 3-2 Miami with a rocket over 400 feet to center field.
Brown rebounded with a strong fifth to keep the deficit at one. The Chippewas rallied in their half of the inning, kickstarted by a Camilletti double. After a wild pitch and a hit batsman the Chippewas could not convert a squeeze bunt attempt, but were able to move runners to second and third with one out.
Navarra laced a drive that was caught by Brokemond, but was deep enough to score Heeke to tie the game. The RedHawks would threaten with two outs in the top of the sixth, but Nate Stone was thrown out stretching a double to a triple on a spot-on relay trow from Jakob Marsee to Simpson to Shepardson to end the inning.
The Chippewas broke through in the bottom half against RedHawk reliever Kevin Napoleon (L, 1-2). With runners on the corners, Rollin singled to right field to score Simpson. The ensuing throw from the right fielder, Nate Stone, rolled into the Chippewa dugout and allowed Shepardson to score as well, giving CMU a 5-3 lead.
Heeke made it 6-3 when he drove in Rollin with a sacrifice bunt. Ian Leatherman (W, 3-1), who relieved Brown in the sixth, pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the win.
CMU and Miami (Ohio) will play one more game Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Following the completion of this series, the Chippewas will begin a four-game series with Ball State, who is currently tied for first with CMU.