CMU baseball drops first home series against Toledo

Central Michigan senior catcher Drew Stengren looks at the pitcher while being up to bat during a game against Toledo, Friday, April 5, at Keilitz Field. (CM-Life | Jo Kenoshmeg)

Central Michigan (10-22, 5-10) baseball hosted Toledo (16-16, 10-5) in its first home Mid-American Conference series of the season.

After falling in game one CMU bounced back in game two. In the rubber match on Sunday the Chippewas fell 3-2 to drop the overall series.

Game 1

Central Michigan baseball opened up its weekend Mid-American Conference series on Friday with a 7-2 loss against Toledo.

Both teams got off to a quick start as Toledo led the game off with the first two batters reaching safely. With a runner on third, first baseman Owen Jackson lifted a flyball to left field that was caught but scored the runner giving the Rockets a 1-0 lead.

The Chippewas' bats came out hot as senior catcher Nick Dardas led off the game with a home run to left center, knotting up the game at one.

Both offenses were then held in check through the next four innings, until Toledo broke through in the sixth with three runs after back-to-back doubles.

The Rockets added three more runs in the eighth off of a pair of homers extending its lead to 7-1.

“Their (Toledo) offensive approach is kind of where I want our guys to get to eventually,” head coach Jake Sabol said. “(To) be able to hit the ball out of the ballpark be confident when you get up there swing with some aggression, I thought they did.”

Throughout this period of time, CMU’s offense did not reach base for 15-straight batters. That was broken with one out in the ninth when senior first baseman Danny Wuestenfeld hit a solo shot to cut the Rocket lead to five.

Getting the start for the Chippewas was junior left-handed pitcher Adam Mrakitsch who had a solid day of work, going six innings while allowing four runs on six hits while punching out seven.

Game 2

In the second game of the series, the Chippewas got out to an early 6-0 lead in the first, headlined by a two-run homer to left field from senior catcher Drew Stengren.

After two scoreless innings, the Rockets responded in the fourth, scoring four off of two home runs. They added three more in the fifth off another home run and an RBI, taking the lead 7-6.

After two more scoreless innings passed, the Rockets continued their explosive hitting day in the eighth with their fourth home run of the day, extending their lead to three.

Central Michigan immediately responded in the bottom of the eighth with three runs to tie up the game at nine. 

In the bottom of the ninth with the game tied up, Dardas hit a pop-up down the right-field line that brought in senior pinch hitter Marquis Jackson for the score as the Chippewas got the win 10-9.

Game 3

In game three, there was stellar pitching from both sides as both teams threw eight strikeouts. It was gritty and low-scoring as the first four innings went scoreless. 

The Rockets struck first in the top of the fifth with a run scored from a bunt. The Chippewas responded with a home run down the right-field line from Wuestenfeld that brought in two runners in the bottom of the fifth inning.

In the top of the sixth, Toledo answered with a two-run homer of its own to right field which brought the score to 3-2.

CMU wasn’t able to get anything going the rest of the way on offense as the rest of the game went scoreless and the Chippewas fell 3-2.

Central Michigan heads to East Lansing on Tuesday to take on the Michigan State Spartans at 6:05 p.m.