Cooper's Arm, Dean's Bat Give CMU 11-2 Win at NIU
Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Central Michigan senior Zach Cooper looks in for a sign during a game versus Kent State at Theunissen Stadium on April 20. Cooper improved to 5-2 in MAC play Friday by tossing eight innings and striking out five in the Chippewas' 11-2 win at Northern Illinois.

Box Score

DeKALB, Ill. - Junior Jordan Dean went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs and senior Zach Cooper threw eight strong innings as Central Michigan defeated Northern Illinois Friday afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field, 11-2.

The Chippewas (21-25, 10-9 MAC) led from start to finish, grabbing the lead in the top of the second inning, 1-0, when senior Nate Theunissen singled to lead off the inning and scored on a RBI single by junior Jordan Adams two batters later.

CMU continued to pad its lead in the next inning as hot-hitting redshirt freshman Pat MacKenzie led off with a double and scored on a single by Dean. After senior William Arnold sacrificed Dean and senior Tyler Hall, who had reached on an error earlier in the inning, over with a bunt, Theunissen recorded an infield RBI single and senior Sam Russell hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 CMU lead.

The Huskies (14-32, 7-12 MAC) were able to pull within two, 4-2, when Alex Jones hit a RBI triple and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Troy White, but were unable to plate another run against Cooper the rest of the way.

Despite giving up 10 hits, Cooper limited the Huskies to just the two runs over eight innings of work. The righty struck out five to give him 85 on the season and did not allow a walk for the first time this season.

MacKenzie started another rally in the top of the seventh with a two-out single to left center and Hall walked to put runners on first and second before Dean roped a double to left center to extend the lead to four, 6-2.

After a scoreless eighth, the Chippewas scored five runs to put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth. Freshman Joe Houlihan got things rolling with a single, advanced to second on a walk to MacKenzie and scored on a single to center by Hall. After Dean was intentionally walked to load the bases, Arnold hit a bases-clearing double to right center and later came around to score on an error for the final 11-2 tally.

Freshman Sean Renzi came on in the ninth in relief of Cooper and recorded his fourth-straight scoreless appearance in league play by striking out two to preserve the win.

In addition to Dean's 27th multi-hit performance of the season, MacKenzie scored three times and went 2-for-3 for his fourth-straight multi-hit game, while Hall finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored.

The Chippewas and Huskies resume their weekend series tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 p.m.