Extending its win streak to nine, CMU baseball sweeps Akron
Central Michigan baseball traveled to Akron, Ohio over the weekend where the Chippewas swept its second-consecutive Mid-American Conference series as they took on the Akron Zips.
CMU (26-13, 13-5) defeated Akron (14-25, 6-15) with a late inning comeback in the first game, an offensive explosion in game two and then ended the series with a dominant pitching performance.
The Chippewas scored two runs late as it stole game one of the weekend series, 5-3 to secure their seventh-straight win.
The Chippewas gave themselves a chance to extend the game in the ninth as they were down 3-2. After two-straight batters reached base, junior infielder Danny Wuestenfeld then drove in junior Jacob Donahue via sacrifice fly, tying the game at three apiece.
Redshirt freshman Luke Sefcik followed up the Wuestenfeld at-bat with a double to left field scoring graduate student Justin Simpson, giving CMU a 4-3 lead late in the contest.
Following the Sefcik double, redshirt sophomore infielder Robby Morgan IV singled to left field, scoring Sefcik and giving the Chippewas an insurance run.
Graduate student left-handed pitcher Garrett Navarra started the game for the Chippewas and threw 7 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out six.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Evan Waters got the win in relief as he pitched 1 2/3 innings striking out two and walking one.
Akron's pitching shut down CMU for most of the afternoon as through seven innings it held the Chippewas red hot offense to two runs.
Akron junior left-handed pitcher Sammy Tortorella was much to thank for that as he gave the Zips five innings, allowing two runs on four hits while walking and striking out six. While freshman right-handed pitcher Joe Roth added two scoreless innings for Akron.
Following a relatively quiet game on offense in the series opener, CMU exploded for eight three inning runs en route to a 16-5 outing in game two on Saturday.
The Chippewas managed to score half of their runs in the top of the third inning largely by taking advantage of a pitcher who was struggling to find the strike zone.
Akron junior left-handed pitcher Brett Dietrich started the game for the Zips and got his team off to a solid start. When inning two rolled around, Dietrich began to falter as CMU scored two runs on as many hits aided by a two-run home run over the left field wall from junior outfielder Jacob Brill.
The long ball from Brill helped break open the game for the Chippewas as a monstrous third inning followed. Back-to-back leadoff walks from graduate infielder Justin Simpson and sophomore designated hitter Danny Wuestenfeld gave CMU a quick pair of baserunners. Simpson was quickly driven in by an RBI single from freshman infielder Luke Sefcik, who was thrown out in his attempt to leg the single out into a double.
Following Simpson’s score, the Chippewas would record another four hits to go along with two additional walks. Dietrich was pulled by Akron interim head coach Tim Donnelly in favor of junior right-hander Yassir Kahook after allowing four runs and recording just one out.
Kahook inherited CMU baserunners Brill and junior catcher Drew Stengren. Stengren represented one of four Chippewas to score after Kahook took over in the third, along with junior outfielders Marquis Jackson, Jacob Donahue and Simpson.
In the eighth inning, the Zips managed to get some production out of their lineup. CMU sophomore right-handed pitcher Michael Conte tossed a 1-2-3 inning in his first inning of work in the seventh but did not maintain such consistency in the eighth.
Allowing six singles to Akron’s lineup, the Zips found themselves with a plethora of baserunners in the eighth and managed to move them around the base path by getting bats on the ball. In total they plated four runs, with only one of them not a result of an RBI single.
The Chippewas slammed the door on a potential Akron comeback in the ninth with another five runs scored, highlighted by a three-run home run from Wuestenfeld.
Leading the way at the plate for the Chippewas was Sefcik, who compiled a game-high of four hits. Wuestenfeld led in the RBI category with four, while Sefcik and Brill logged three apiece.
CMU was led by a pitching performance as it shutout Akron 3-0 in the series finale on Sunday, giving the Chippewas its ninth-straight win and its second consecutive MAC series sweep.
Junior right-handed pitcher Keegan Batka got the start for Chippewas in the finale. Batka pitched eight shutout innings allowing only four hits and three walks while striking out a career-high 10 batters.
On the other side of the hill, Roth pitched six innings giving up two runs on seven hits, two walks and striking out four.
Morgan got the scoring started for the Chippewas in the sixth on an RBI fielder’s choice where errant throw on the play allowed Wuestenfeld to score giving CMU a 2-0 lead.
The Chippewas added another run in the eighth when Morgan homered to right field to extend the lead to three.
CMU was led offensively by Sefcik who had two hits in the ball game, while Morgan had two RBIs.
The Chippewas are back at it on Tuesday at 3 p.m. as they take on Oakland in a single game at Theunissen stadium in Mount Pleasant.