MOUNT PLEASANT — After nearly pulling off a dramatic ninth-inning comeback in a 4-3 loss to start the day, Central Michigan prevented a series sweep by claiming a 2-1 victory in game two versus Toledo at Scott Park Sunday afternoon.
The Chippewas (17-21, 6-9 MAC) were shutout for the first 17 innings of the series before nearly erasing a four-run deficit in game one and used the momentum in game two, aided by a strong pitching performance from freshman Taylor Lehnert, to close the Mid-American Conference series.
Lehnert gave up just four hits and struck out four over 6.1 innings of work in game two of the doubleheader to earn his second win of the season, while sophomore Matt Trowbridge came on and pitched the final 2.2 innings to earn his eighth save of the year.
Central Michigan was able to break the scoreless game in the top of the sixth when sophomore Pat MacKenzie singled through the left side to leadoff the inning and came around to score on a RBI by senior Jordan Adams. Redshirt freshman Neal Jacobs then laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to plate junior Noel Santos for a 2-0 CMU advantage.
The Rockets (14-24, 6-9 MAC) cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the seventh to chase Lehnert, but Trowbridge came on and inherited a bases-loaded jam only to induce an inning-ending double play started on the hot corner by sophomore Joe Houlihan.
Trowbridge gave up his only hit with one out in the ninth inning as the Rockets looked for a comeback win, but induced back-to-back fielder’s choice outs to close thd door.
CMU nearly came back in game one of the doubleheader, but was unable to complete the rally in falling to the Rockets, 4-3.
Trailing 4-0 and having not scored a run in the series, the Chippewas started a rally in the top of the ninth when freshman Logan Regnier struck out but reached on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch allowed Regnier to advance to second and Adams walked to put a pair of runners on. An error allowed Jacobs to reach on a sacrifice bunt attempt, plating Regnier for the Chippewas' first run of the game.
Senior Rick Dodridge suffered the loss in game one despite a strong seven innings of work. The lefty gave up four runs – two earned – on six hits and a pair of walks while striking out four.
CMU is back in action Tuesday afternoon for a home tilt versus Davenport. First pitch is set for 4:05.