KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Central Michigan took care of business and with a little help from around the league secured its 10th consecutive trip to the Mid-American Conference Tournament by defeating rival Western Michigan at Robert J. Bobb Stadium Saturday afternoon, 9-2.
The Chippewas finished the regular season 25-30 overall and 12-15 in the MAC to earn the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament May 22-25 at All Pro-Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio. CMU will take on defending champion and No. 1 seed Kent State in a rematch of last season's championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22.
Toledo defeated Easter Michigan in Ypsilanti Saturday, 6-5, giving the Eagles and Chippewas identical 12-15 record in conference play. EMU was eliminated from postseason competition as the Maroon and Gold held the tiebreaker over their rival after taking two of three games earlier this season at Theunissen Stadium.
The tanden of brothers sophomore Nick Regnier and freshman Logan Regnier combined to go 4-for-10 with four RBI and senior Jordan Adams hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season in a contest that saw the Chippewas take control from the start.
Logan Regnier led the game off by sending the second pitch he saw to the wall in right center for a lead off double and after moving to third on a sacrifie bunt by senior Tom Lally came around to score on a RBI infield single by his brother for a 1-0 CMU lead.
After CMU extended the lead to 2-0 on yet another RBI single by Nick Regnier that plated his younger brother in the top of the third, the Broncos (16-38, 8-19 MAC) plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to even the game, 2-2.
The Chippewas quickly responded and never looked back however, as sophomore Cody Leichman and redshirt freshman Neal Jacobs hit back-to-back doubles to start for the fourth and sophomore Pat Mackenzie drove in Jacobs with a single to center field for a 4-2 lead.
CMU continued its momentum in the top of the fifth by batting around for a big five-run frame that extended the lead to its final score, 9-2.
Adams hit a deep solo home run over the wall in left field to start the scoring and a RBI single by freshman Dylan Goodwin, his third of the weekend, plated Leichman later in the inning. An error on the Broncos allowed MacKenzie to reach and Jacobs to score and Logan Regnier drove in MacKenzie and Goodwin in the next at bat with a single to right field to cap the inning.
Senior Rick Dodridge started the contest and gave up just two runs over five innings to even his record at 4-4 on the season. Freshman Jason Gamble came on in relief to throw the final four innings, limiting Western to just one hit while striking out two to earn his first career save.
Leichman went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and MacKenzie also finished with a multi-hit game with a 2-for-5 performance.
MAC Tournament First-Round Matchups
No. 4 Ball State vs. No 5 Miami (9 a.m.)
No. 3 Northern Illinois vs. No. 6 Bowling Green (12:30 p.m.)
No. 2 Buffalo vs. No. 7 Toledo (4 p.m.)
No. 1 Kent State vs. No. 8 Central Michigan (7:30 p.m.)