Chippewas Take Pitcher's Duel Against Western Michigan, 3-2
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich.- Central Michigan broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the bottom of the eighth to win Saturday's series finale against Western Michigan, 3-2.
The Broncos finish the regular season with a 25-27 overall record, going 14-12 in the Mid-American Conference. WMU will be the No. 5 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament, May 23-26, at All-Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio, and will play No. 4 seed Ohio in the first round. The Broncos and Bobcats did not face one another in the regular season.
WMU, under second-year head coach Billy Gernon, is headed to the conference tournament for back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2005 & 2006.
Western Michigan scored in the top of the first Saturday and held the lead until the bottom of the fifth. Vinnie Booker drew a leadoff walk, moved up a base on a sac bunt by Zach Thoma and advanced to third with his team-leading 17th steal of the season. Ryan McMillin flied out to center field for the RBI sac fly.
The Chippewas tied the game on double and pair of sac bunts in the fifth. Both teams put a run on the board in the sixth to make for a 2-2 tie. McMillin got on with another leadoff walk and Patrick Duncan was hit by a pitch. Jared Kujawa laid down a sac bunt and Troy Forton drove in the run with a groundout to the shortstop.
CMU's run in the sixth would go down as unearned, as WMU committed two errors in the inning.
Sophomore right-handed reliever Patrick Borlik replaced WMU starter Will Nimke in the top of the eighth and issued a walk to the first batter he faced. Jordan Dean singled to put runners on the corners and William Arnold hit into a 4-6-3 double play, however the run managed to get across.
CMU closer Jon Weaver sat the Broncos down in order in the top of the ninth on three straight groundouts.
Nimke went seven innings in the no decision, allowing just three hits, striking out two and walking one. He was charged with two runs, only one of which was earned. Borlik (5-4) took the loss for Western Michigan.
Western Michigan had only three hits, Booker, McMillin and Duncan each with one.
Sean Renzi (1-1) was credited with the win for CMU, tossing one inning of relief. Weaver picked up his sixth save of the year. Chippewa starter Dietrich Enns threw five innings, giving up the three hits. Jordan Foley was the first out of the bullpen for Central Michigan and tossed two innings.
CMU (30-27, 17-10) will be the No. 3 seed in the MAC Tournament and will face No. 6 Eastern Michigan.
MAC Baseball Tournament Pairings - All Pro Freight Stadium (Avon, Ohio)
Wednesday, May 23
No. 4 Ohio vs. No. 5 Western Michigan, 9 a.m.
No. 3 Central Mich. vs. No. 6 Eastern Mich., 12:30 p.m.
No. 2 Toledo vs. No. 7 Miami, 4 p.m.
No. 1 Kent State vs. No. 8 Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.