Broncos' late outpouring downs CMU in Sunday showdown
Central Michigan's bats were held in check for much of the afternoon.
In what was a pitcher's duel for most of the day, it was once again the Western Michigan Broncos who got the big hits. Outside of a ninth inning rally, the Chippewas were neutralized.
WMU took the series finale, 6-1, Sunday afternoon to win the series over CMU. The loss keeps the Chippewas tied for first with Ball State, who also lost Sunday.
A pitcher's duel unfolded between the two most unlikely of sources. For CMU, left-hander Garrett Navarra posted scoreless inning after scoreless inning while WMU's Ryan Watt did the same. It was the first career start for Watt.
The Broncos' best chance against Navarra came in the second inning, when the first two batters reached base. With runners at second and third, Ethan Hajdukovic hit a ground ball to Zach Heeke, who fired home to get the lead runner. Navarra then induced a double play and the threat was over.
CMU got a leadoff double from Drew Lechnir to begin the top of the fifth against Watt, but the next three batters were retired in order. Watt finished the day with 5 2/3 scoreless innings, while Navarra tossed five scoreless.
Navarra was relieved by Ian Leatherman, who had been CMU's most consistent reliever. However, Leatherman (L, 3-2) ran into trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases after allowing two singles and hit a batter.
With nobody out, the Broncos finally broke the scoreless tie. Logan Hudson singled to score two, but Leatherman kept the lead at just two heading into the eighth.
WMU broke through in the eighth. Drew Devine singled to make it 3-0, and Hajdukovic drilled a 3-run home run to blow the game open. Ryan Palmblad entered the game for CMU to get the final out.
Heeke drove in CMU's only run with a single in the top of the ninth, scoring pinch hitter Zach Lechnir.
CMU returns home for the start of a four game series with Eastern Michigan. The series begins Friday at 3 p.m.