PORT CHARLOTE, Fla. - Senior Pat Kaminska broke out of his early-season slump in a big way Saturday afternoon in leading Central Michigan to a 6-0 shutout of Chicago State at the Snowbird Classic.
Kaminska, who entered the day 0-3, pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out a season-high six to lead the Chippewas (6-8) to their third-straight win. Most importantly, Kaminska did not walk a batter and gave up just six hits during the outing.
Combined with sophomore Sean Renzi, the two pitchers struck out 10 Wildcats (1-11) as Renzi came on to pitch the final two innings and struck out four.
The Chippewas struck early, taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Pat MacKenzie singled to right field and advanced two bases on a failed pick off attempt before coming around to score on a RBI single by sophomore Cody Leichman.
Freshman Morgan Oliver struck out for what appeared to be the third out later in the inning, but he reached as the ball got away to extend the inning. The wild pitch was costly for the Wildcats as freshman Zack Fields scored on a passed ball with senior Tom Lally at the plate.
CMU extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth on a RBI groundout by freshman Logan Regnier that plated Lally and scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on another RBI by Leichman and bases-loaded walk of sophomore Joe Houlihan.
All the while, Kaminska was mowing through the Wildcats' lineup, just once allowing a runner into scoring position. Chicago State's Julian Russell reached on a fielder's choice in the sixth and moved to third on a single by Mattingly Romanin, but Kaminska quickly induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to end the threat and keep the shutout in tact.
The Wildcats had another chance to break up the shutout in the eighth when Renzi gave up a leadoff single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out. Fortunately for the Chippewas, a ball that trickled by freshman catcher Dylan Goodwin allowed the battery mates to throw out Nathan Poff at home plate as he tried to score from third.
Leichman led the Chippewas with his first career four-hit game by going 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI. Fields went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and a RBI, while sophomore Nick Regnier extended his hitting streak to five games. Regnier has also reached base safely in every game this season.
The Chippewas will close their annual Florida trip and the Snowbird Classic tomorrow morning at 10:30 when they take on Georgetown. Senior Rick Dodridge will take the mound looking for his second win of the season.