CMU collects fourth consecutive MAC series sweep

Illinois infielder, Danny Wustenfeld, being praised by Volunteer Assistant Coach, Tom Winske, for his triple play.

Central Michigan (27-10, 20-1) once again completed a clean series sweep in Sunday’s rubber match against Akron (11-28, 9-19), winning 16-0 in a seven-inning contest. It was CMU’s fourth consecutive Mid-American Conference series sweep.

CMU did its damage thanks to exceptional consistency from both its pitching staff and offensive lineup. The Chippewas produced 16 runs on 21 hits while only striking out three times. 

Sophomore Danny Wuestenfeld, who currently has the most RBIs on the team, drove in another to start the Chippewas off with an RBI single in the first. His total RBI tally now sits at 47.

“He comes up there and gets the big hit,” said coach Jordan Bischel. “He’s awfully confident right now, and it goes back to the preparation. He struggled a little bit early in the season, he just kept working at it and mentally he’s in such a good sport right now. It’s good to see.”

Eight of CMU’s 16 runs were driven in by a combination of sophomore Drew Lechnir and junior Garrett Navarra, who had five and three RBIs, respectively. Lechnir did so via three hits in five plate appearances, including two doubles, each driving in two runs. Navarra produced his three runs on two hits as well as a two RBI double of his own as the DH.

CMU’s offense turned in six runs and nine hits in the sixth inning. Seven of its nine hits in the frame came from consecutive singles off of the Akron pitching staff, capped off by a knock from Colton Coca that smoked Akron pitcher Jacob Clark in the cleat. After a brief visit from the trainer, Clark stayed in to retire the final two outs of the inning.

The Chippewas’ lineup was aided by a very efficient outing from left-handed freshman Adam Mrakitsch, who tossed 6 ⅓ innings while only allowing two hits and registering one strikeout on 75 pitches. It was the first time he saw more than 3 innings of work in a single game this season. 

“He attacked the strike zone,” said Bischel. “He went after guys, you know. Wind was blowing in, we got a good defense. He just came after hitters, let them put the ball in play and we played good defense behind him. For a guy that’s not gone over three innings in his career here, obviously he did an outstanding job.”

Mrakitsch (W, 3-0) was called upon to step up as the Chippewas were without the services of starting pitcher Jordan Patty this weekend. Mrakitsch now boasts a 2.11 ERA in 10 appearances this season.

Sophomore RHP Ben Vitas entered in relief of Mrakitsch just two outs shy of a victory. Vitas got the job done, putting away the final two batters with a strikeout and a groundout. It was his second appearance of the series and 11th total this season.

Central Michigan will face the other in-conference program vying for the MAC title next weekend as it will travel to Ball State (17-4, 23-14) for a four-game series against the Cardinals. The series will begin at 3 p.m. Friday.