AVON, Ohio - Junior Jordan Adams hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to give No. 3 Central Michigan an 11-10 win over No. 7 Miami and force a second semifinal game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament Saturday afternoon.
The Chippewas' (33-28) victory was their third facing elimination in the tournament, all of which have been decided by two runs or less and in the eighth inning or later.
After pinch-hitter Reid Rooney reached base on a third strike wild pitch, Adams sent a 1-0 pitch deep over the left field fence to score pinch runner Kyle Henris and give the Chippewas the 11-10 lead.
The RedHawks' (30-28) Bryce Redeker led off the bottom of the eighth with a double off redshirt freshman Dylan Rheault and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt before the righty got Nate Bowles swinging for the second out of the inning.
Senior Ryan Longstreth then came out of the bullpen and got Dan Walsh to hit a dribbler in front of the mound that senior catcher William Arnold handled easily to protect the Chippewas' lead.
Senior Jon Weaver came on in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the RedHawks to earn his seventh save of the season and force the elimination game for both teams Saturday at 1 p.m. Weaver is now 2-0 with a save in the MAC Tournament and has struck out six in 3.1 perfect innings of work.
The Chippewas struck first in the game that started at 9:37 Friday evening at All Pro Freight Stadium when Tyler Hall led off with a single and later came around to score on a wild pitch for a 1-0 lead.
The RedHawks came right back with two runs in the bottom of the frame before CMU tied things up, 2-2, on a RBI single by junior Jordan Dean in the second.
After single runs by MU in the third and fourth gave it a 4-2 advantage, the Chippewas batted around in the fourth to score five runs and take a 7-4 lead.
Senior Eric Wrozek reached on an error to lead off the inning and redshirt freshman Pat MacKenzie walked before a bunt single by Hall loaded the bases. Dean followed with a two-RBI single and Arnold doubled to right center to plate two more before Sam Russell grounded out to plate Arnold to cap the big inning for the Maroon and Gold.
The RedHawks returned the favor in the bottom half however, sending 10 batters to the plate to score six runs and reclaim the lead, 10-7.
The big inning forced the Chippewas to go to their bullpen where the called upon Rheault, who gave up just two unearned runs on five hits over 4.1 innings work. Rheault was able to keep the RedHawks off the board in his final 3.1 innings of work, stranding MU base runners at third in each frame to earn his second win of the season.
Arnold hit his third double of the game and senior Nate Theunissen walked in the top of the sixth before Adams drove in both runners with a double to right center to pull CMU within one, 10-9.
Adams finished the night 3-for-6 with four RBI, while Dean and Arnold each finished the night with three hits, driving in three and two respectively.The game concluded at 1:12 a.m., Saturday morning after three hours and 35 minutes of play in which the two teams each finished with fourteen hits, including a combined twelve extra-base hits.