CMU baseball wins MAC series opener against Ohio

Ohio infielder, Robby Morgan IV, celebrating his home run; bringing the team score 8-0 in the first game.

After a chilly weekend in Athens, Ohio, Central Michigan baseball combined for a total of five home runs to win its Mid-American Conference opening series against the Ohio Bobcats.

The Chippewas won the first game of the series on Friday, 8-5 in their MAC opener. On a snowy Saturday, the Chippewas dropped game two against the Bobcats after falling into an early deficit. To wrap up the series, an explosive bullpen and a pair of homeruns led the Chippewas to close the three-game series with a 10-6 win on Sunday.  

The Chippewas are now 11-8 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The Bobcats are 5-12 overall and 3-3 in the MAC. 

Game one

In game one the Chippewas added on to the two-run lead they had taken in the first inning with a three-run homer by graduate student Garrett Navarra followed by a two-run home run by junior Nick Dardas to put the Chippewas up 7-1 in the third inning to push them to an 8-5 win. 

The Bobcats added one run on a single through the left side and then a three-run homer to right field in the bottom of the sixth put them within two runs, 7-5.

The Chippewas answered back in the next inning with aggressive base running to put them up 8-5 as Navarra scored on a wild pitch after he tripled to center field. 

The left-handed sophomore Adam Mrakitsch (3-1) got the start on the mound, allowing five runs on five hits, had seven strikeouts and walked one batter in seven innings. Graduate student Ryan Palmblad pitched two hitless innings to earn his third save on the season with three strikeouts and one walk. 

Game two

In a snowy game two on Saturday, the Chippewas found themselves in an early deficit as they fell 11-7 to the Bobcats in game two of the series. 

The Bobcats Cole Williams took a liking to the Chippewas pitching as he hit two home runs, one in the second and the other in the fifth. One homer brought in two extra runs giving Ohio a 3-0 lead in the second inning. His other shot was a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to put the Bobcats up 7-3. 

In the sixth inning the Chippewas were able to pull within one run scoring three runs on an RBI fielder's choice and a Jacob Donahue bunt and an error. 

The Bobcats scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 9-6 lead on a single to center field to bring in two more runs to score. The Bobcats tallied a third home run in the bottom of the eighth by AJ Rausch and an RBI double by Mason Minzey to seal the 11-7 win.

Graduate student Kade Preston and junior Marquis Jackson both had solo home runs for the Chippewas to add to the total nine hits produced by CMU. 

Junior Keegan Batka (3-2) got the start on the mound for CMU allowing seven runs on none hits. He had four strikeouts in five innings. Redshirt junior Ryan Insco, sophomore Nate Ross and freshman Evan Waters all pitched an inning of relief. 

Game three

Despite the Bobcats jumping out to an early two run lead, the Chippewas put together two four run innings to put them ahead to win the third and final game of the series, 10-6. 

In the top of the third inning a double steal completed by graduate student Justin Simpson and junior Jake Brill moved both runners in scoring position for freshman Christian Mitchelle as he doubled to left center to tie it at two. A deep sacrifice fly into right field by Donahue scored Mitchelle and Navarra’s bunt sent Jackson home to take a 4-2 lead.

The Bobcats answered right back, scoring three runs on four hits to take a 5-4 lead over the Chippewas in the bottom of the third. 

Redshirt sophomore Robby Morgan IV hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to put CMU up, 6-5. Morgan leads the Chippewas in home runs with five. Navarra singled and Dardas doubled to add two more runs in the inning to take an 8-5 lead. 

Ohio closed CMU’s lead to one in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring on a wild pitch but the Chippewas upped the lead 10-6 in the top of the sixth inning to then shut the Bobcats down in the final three innings. 

Navarra got the start on the mound for the Chippewas, pitching 2.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Palmblad (1-1) was awarded the win, pitching 3.1 innings allowing one run on one hit and struck out six batters. Sophomore Michael Conte was awarded the save in his three innings pitched as he allowed no runs on one hit and had three strikeouts. 

The Chippewas will host Kent State this weekend in a three-game series starting on Friday at 3 p.m.