CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - Miami defeated Central Michigan, 5-2, late Friday night to end the Chippewas' run at the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The Chippewas close the season at 31-27 overall. Miami (35-24 overall) will face either Kent State or Eastern Michigan in the tournament championship game Saturday afternoon.
Bryce Morrow was outstanding in his final start in the maroon and gold. Despite taking the loss, the senior worked 7-2/3 innings and was tagged with five runs on 10 hits. He struck out five and walked none. Morrow left with two outs in the eighth and Miami hanging on to a 3-2 lead with runners on second and third, but Nate Bowles' pinch-hit single that shortstop Jordan Dean dove to stop behind second base scored both runners.
Miami took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Ryan Curl doubled to lead off the inning, was sacrificed to third and scored on Ryan Brenner's one-out single.
CMU twice tied the score--with single runs in the fifth and seventh innings--but both times the RedHawks responded with go-ahead runs in the next half inning.
Nate Theunissen's fourth home run of the tournament tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fifth, but Curl again led off with a double in the bottom half, was sacrificed to third and scored on sacrifice fly by Brenner.
In the seventh, Tom Howard reached on an error, was sacrificed to second by Dean and scored on a double off the wall by Theunissen. Miami again responded, with Kevin Bower leading off the bottom of the inning with a double and scoring on Ryan Kaup's double two batters later.
Morrow retired the first two hitters in the eighth before allowing a pair of hits to set up Bowles' two-run infield single.
CMU threatened to score in the first and eighth innings, but came up empty both times. Tyler Hall led off the game with a single, but two batters later was thrown out at the plate on William Arnold's double. Arnold was stranded on second.
In the eighth, the Chippewas had runners on second and third with two outs, and Howard worked the count full before drawing a walk. Miami reliever Matt Rosinski forced Dean to ground out to end the inning.
Brooks Fiala earned the win for Miami. He surrendered two runs (one earned) on seven hits in 7-2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked none to improve to 7-4. Sam Dawes worked a one-two-three ninth to record his ninth save.