Baseball's win streak survives with thrilling comeback against Akron

Orange, Calif. junior Justin Simpson prepares for his at bat against NIU, Sunday, April 10, at Theunissen Stadium.

A short fly to center field was just far enough for CMU shortstop Justin Simpson to reach home from third as he flew faster than a zip to take the lead in an immense comeback.

On a cool cloudy Friday afternoon, the Chippewas slowed the Zips effort in a 11-10 nail bitter.

CMU (25-10, 18-1) opened the series with their eighteenth consecutive Mid-American Conference victory against Akron (11-25, 9-16).

“You got to give a lot of credit to Akron, they played really well, they hit a lot of balls hard,” said CMU head coach Jordan Bischel. “But I thought our guys did a nice job at staying the course, now you’re down 10-5 you’re not going to come back and win every time.”

A big part of Akron’s scoring surge was due to three Chippewas errors while Akron committed none. CMU left seven men on base, Akron left six but the Zips struck out 10 times compared to CMU’s one.

Down five runs in the bottom of the eighth things looked dreary for the Chippewas. But they were not done yet.

CMU designated hitter Drew Lechnir led with a base hit as CMU continued to load the bases. Two consecutive walks were worked by CMU to make it a three-score game. CMU right fielder Jakob Marsee brought in another off a sac fly, then a single and a double tied the game for the Chippewas. After another sac-fly the Chippewas now lead 11-10.

To close out the game former MAC pitcher of the week Jake Jones was called upon. Against four batters on 16 pitches and two strikeouts he sealed the deal for the save.

But in an unlikely occurrence CMU dual threat Garrett Navarra was given the series opening start, rather than CMU starter Jordan Patty.

“Jordan is dealing with a little bit of arm stuff," Bischel said. "We’re hopeful he’ll be okay, but he wasn’t available today. We won’t see him this weekend. (Andrew) Taylor and (Logan Buczkowski) tomorrow and whatever is left Sunday.”

Leading 5-1, CMU relinquished the lead in the fifth inning when Akron rallied with five runs to take its first lead of the day. With two runs apiece in the sixth and seventh innings, the Zips took a 10-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth. 

Fortunate for the Chippewas, the bats came alive when they needed them most. 

Morgan finished with two hits on three at-bats, four RBI’s, one run and a walk as his patience at the plate continues to improve.

With two outs in the fifth Navarra looked to end the inning. Unfortunately for him and the Chippewas, two walks and a single, gave up two runs. CMU right hander Ryan Insco came in for relief and the final out of inning, but a two RBI triple was hit to bring the Zips into the lead 6-5.

This would be the first time in 11 games that the Chippewas would find themselves behind on runs.

Up next

CMU and Akron will square off in a doubleheader Saturday, with first pitch of the first game scheduled for Noon.