Baseball sweeps doubleheader vs Akron
Akron was no match for Central Michigan's pitching efforts in Michigan’s first 80 degree day of the year. Theunissen Stadium was packed with a full crowd to celebrate.
In the first game of the day CMU took down the Zips in an 8-0 effort behind a near perfect pitching. Game two was closer matchup but the Chippewas came back in a 4-2 effort.
CMU (27-10, 20-1) continued the series with a doubleheader sweep against Akron (11-27, 9-18) Saturday afternoon.
A seven-inning contest belonged to Andrew Taylor as he managed to turn in another dominant performance on the bump. Taylor (W, 6-2) was nearly perfect through six innings, logging 13 strikeouts while only giving up three hits - none of which left the infield.
If there was any knock against Taylor’s performance, it would be related to his pitch count, as he threw 112 total pitches. However, with only two walks surrendered, it wasn’t so much an issue of control.
Taylor had no less than two punch outs in all six of his frames and struck out the side in his first inning of work. His consistency on the mound seemed to translate to the other side of the ball, as the Chippewas’ offense was only held scoreless in the sixth inning.
“The guys get fired up when they see him throwing well, but we've also had a few games where we don't swing it great because sometimes there's a little complacency,” said CMU head coach Jordan Bischel. "But certainly he generates some energy in the dugout when he has some of those fantastic innings."
CMU produced a single run in each of its first four innings. Robby Morgan IV provided the biggest spark, knocking a solo shot over the left-field wall for his fourth round-tripper of the season in the second inning.
Morgan, who finished with two hits, was one of several examples in the first game of CMU's top-to-bottom consistency.
“That's taken a little time to develop this year, early in the year we had a couple of guys going really well, Mario, Jacob, but we were struggling in the bottom half of the order,” said Bischel. "Some of those young guys, Danny Wuestenfeld, Robby Morgan, we're starting to see the consistency there."
Brothers Drew and Zach Lechnir both managed to produce runs for CMU. Drew collected an RBI single in the third inning, driving in Wuestenfeld. Later, Zach laid down a bunt back to the pitcher, who unsuccessfully attempted to get the lead runner at home. It was scored as an error, but got the job done all the same.
CMU shut the door on the Zips with a closing performance from RHP Aaron Husson, who made his second appearance of the season. After inducing a flyout to right field, Husson worked around a single and a hit batter to maintain the shutout performance by both pitchers.
Fastball savant Logan Buczkowski started game with a quick 1-2-3 inning.
The bottom of the first saw the top of the line-up load the bases starting with a hit and two walks. Unfortunately for the Chippewas a strikeout and a double play ended their hopes of jumping on an early lead.
The top of the second wasn’t as quick for Buczkowski, but a swing and a miss prompted CMU catcher Drew Stengren to throw a missile to tag the batter at second for the end of the inning.
At the end of the fourth center fielder Robby Morgan was able to work a walk and steal second and third. No runs were scored, but the second game of the doubleheader proved to be a pitcher outing for both teams.
"So for other guys to step up is really, really big," said Bischel
Fifth inning play for Buczkowski saw a recovery from Zips on second and third for a shutout outing his final out brought the crowd to their feet as he zipped three straight heaters for a strikeout.
CMU shortstop Justin Simpson nearly went deep to right in the bottom of the fifth to break the tie, but with the wind blowing towards the infield, it dropped preemptively for the second out.
After allowing the bases to be loaded in the fifth Akron freshman Jacob Beall was pulled after 2.2 innings of solid pitching with zero hits, two strikeouts and four walks.
After 5 2/3 innings of work Buczkowski throw 85 pitches, four punchouts, he allowed two hits, four walks and two earned runs. He was replaced with CMU righty Jake Jones with two outs and two men on base.
"We're shorthanded this weekend with Jordan (Patty) down, we might have another bullpen guy unavailable so I challenge these pitchers," said Bischel. "Some guys are going to get a chance to step up and obviously today those guys did an outstanding job."
Jones allowed a line drive over his head for two runs for Akron as they broke the tie and took the lead.
But just as Akron took the lead the Chippewas responded in the bottom of the sixth.
After a huge double by CMU designated hitter Garrett Navarra, Morgan advanced to third and found his way home off a high wild pitch. The Chippewas were now down by one run.
On the offensive side of the seventh the Chippewas were working the comeback. CMU left fielder Drew Lechnir pulled off a perfect RBI single bunt bringing Simpson home and advancing CMU third baseman Aidan Shepardson.
At the end of the seventh the Chippewas were able to tie the game at two runs a piece.
For the first time in the game the Chippewas took the lead 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth. After a Chippewa double CMU right fielder Jakob Marsee hit another double then was brought in by a sac-fly from Simpson.
Jones (W, 4-1) closed out his second game of the series, relieving Buczkowski and going the rest of the way. In his 3.1 innings of work he threw 50 pitches, three strikeouts, two walks and six hits.