Chippewa baseball rallies on all fronts, sweeps EMU in final home doubleheader

Pitcher Ian Leatherman throws a slider, April 17, Theunissen Stadium.

When Mario Camilletti entered Theunissen Stadium this morning, he had a 10-game streak of reaching base.

After tallying four hits and two runs across Central Michigan's doubleheader sweep of Eastern Michigan, that streak advanced to 12. 

Camilletti's contributions in the box paired nicely with strong performances from pitchers Andrew Taylor, Garrett Navarra, and Ian Leatherman, as the Chippewas picked up 1-0 and 4-2 wins over the Eagles in Theunissen Stadium.

"We obviously pitched very well, giving up two runs in a double header," said head coach Jordan Bischel. "We played good defense behind those pitchers and played with a lot of energy, I thought, all day."

Bischel praised his trio of pitchers for their performance, and mentioned that his team competed well at the plate across the doubleheader.

Game one

Standout pitching from Andrew Taylor (W, 10-2) paired with strong fielding allowed the Chippewas to blank EMU in the first half of the doubleheader, 1-0. 

The Chippewas picked up their only run for the game in the bottom of the third. Mario Camilletti opened with a double and advanced on a wild pitch, allowing Navarra to score him with a single.

Eagles infielders Taylor Hopkins, Christian Bault and Eli Gora strung together three double plays to close three individual frames, keeping the Chippewas' scoring opportunity at bay. Paired with pitcher Justin Meis' (L, 4-6) five hit allowance, 4 walks and five strikeouts, CMU could only piece together Navarra's RBI.

"There's a lot of luck involved there, if any of those balls goes six feet in the other direction a couple of them would've scored runs," Bischel said. "Sometimes you tip the cap, they played good defense and made the plays behind them, but you just gotta hit the ball hard and sometimes it works out in the long run."

While the Chippewas struggled with stranding runners, Travis shut things down defensively. The redshirt freshman put forth seven innings of work for nine strikeouts, three walks and just three hits, slimming down his ERA to 1.33 to lead the MAC. 

Game two

CMU put forth a stronger offensive attack in the second game, but EMU stepped up its game as well, scoringfor the first time all series. Nevertheless, the Chippewas remained on top and swept the doubleheader 4-2.

A triad of strikeouts from Navarra in the first frame enabled an explosive Chippewa offense. Camilletti split the game open with a single and pitcher Davis Feldman delivered a walk and a dead ball to load bases up. Zach Heeke got clipped on another dead ball by Feldman, scoring Camilletti.

Navarra and Justin Simpson scored on the next play by a single through the left side from Griffin Lockwood-Powell, who went on to have a field day both on and behind the plate. The South Dakota catcher made two powerhouse tosses from the plate to second base and shortstop, catching two EMU runners off guard and enabling the put-outs in the second and third frame.

"It's great for Griff," Bischel said. "He broke his thumb in early March, --obviously as a baseball player your hands are pretty darn critical to the operation-- even though he was able to come back and play a few weeks ago, it's going to take time to build that strength and get comfortable, he's been a little better each week and we saw that today, ... he works his tail off and is a great teammate."

EMU paired up two solo homers in the third inning from Bault and Daniel Warkentin. 

Simpson picked up the final run of the day in the fifth inning with a single to left center, scoring Zach Gilles off of his inning-opening double. Lockwood-Powell knocked a single down left field to advance Simpson, but the two were left stranded on a snag by Eagles outfielder Gabe Denton on the next play.

Ian Leatherman stepped in to relieve Navarra for the final two frames, delivering two strikeouts and allowing just one hit. 

Navarra ended the day victorious with five innings tossed, totaling for two given runs on five hits, one walk and five strikeouts delivered. 

Record watch

Camilletti also drew a walk in the second game, placing him just two shy of tying Zavier Warren's 2019 single-season program record of 59. Camilletti currently leads the Mid-American Conference as well as the country in walks.

Up next

The Chippewas and the Eagles will complete the series during CMU's final home rodeo in Theunissen Stadium at 10 a.m. Sunday.