CMU baseball loses to EMU in low scoring affair

Sophomore pitcher Adam Mrakitsch throws a pitch during a game against Ball State Friday, April 14 in Keilitz Field at Theunissen Stadium. Mrakitsch was the winning pitcher of the game and struck out 10 batters.

On paper, Central Michigan baseball, who sports an overall record of 29-15, should have handled the 22-21 Eastern Michigan Eagles. Against the Mid-American Conference opponents, CMU is 15-7, while EMU is 8-14.

“Gotta hit more balls hard," head coach Jordan Bischel said.

That was the message after a disappointing loss on Friday when the Chippewas only managed to put up one run in a 1-3 loss to open their series with the Eagles. 

Although the team came up short of the level that it expects to produce offensively, Bischel and company know what the team is capable of on the defensive side.

“We’re gonna be in every game the way we’ve pitched and defended,” Bischel said. “Just gotta be ready to put better swings on baseballs.”

CMU got what it hoped for in the field, thanks to the efforts of sophomore left-handed pitcher Adam Mrakitsch. Drawing the start, he went eight innings and gave up two runs on three hits, while striking out seven.

Mrakitsch only gave up two hard-hit balls to EMU, but both came back-to-back in top of the eighth - and both proved costly. The first was a ground-rule double over the wall to right center field by junior infielder Cory Taylor, followed by a 2-RBI single by senior infielder Glenn Miller to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

“(Mrakitsch) took the cap a little bit,” Bischel said. “He pitched great, they took some good swings when they needed ‘em. But we should have been in a position where those didn’t cost us the game.”

Graduate reliever Ryan Palmblad replaced Mrakitsch in the ninth, who quickly recorded outs one and two by inducing a pop out to shortstop and punching out the next batter on three pitches. After his quick success, he allowed a free pass via walk to senior outfielder Blake McRae, which represented the final run scored as senior catcher Aaron Dolney doubled to left field, scoring McRae.

The Chippewas’ only scratch in the scoring column came in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of a ground ball to the shortstop from junior designated hitter Danny Wuestenfeld. He reached first safely via fielder’s choice, while graduate infielder Justin Simpson scored after he was walked to lead off the inning.

CMU outhit the Eagles six to four but did not take advantage of scoring opportunities as the Chippewas left eight total runners on base compared to the Eagles’ three.

The series will continue on Saturday for game two of CMU’s final regular season home series. The opening pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.