MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday to clinch its series over rival Western Michigan, 3-2.
With the win, the Chippewas (30-27, 17-10 MAC) clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, Ohio May 23-26. The Chippewas and No. 6 seed Eastern Michigan will square off in the first round of the of the tournament with first pitch set for 12:30 p.m Wednesday afternoon.
Senior Tyler Hall led off the eighth with a walk and moved to third on a hit and run in which junior Jordan Dean slapped a single through the right side. Senior William Arnold then grounded into a double play with the middle infielders back, allowing Hall to plate the game-winning run for the final 3-2 tally.
The Broncos were able to take an early 1-0 lead in the first inning off junior Dietrich Enns after Vinnie Booker led off the game with a walk and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly. The run ended Enns' scoreless innings pitched streak at 18.
The Chippewas weren't able to get on the board until the bottom of the fifth, mustering just one hit through the first four innings. Junior Jordan Adams drilled a double to the wall in right center and scored on back-to-back successful sacrifice bunts by redshirt freshman Nick Regnier and senior Eric Wrozek, tying the game at 1-1.
Western came right back to reclaim the lead in the top of the sixth, as another lead off walk led to a run for the visiting team. Ryan McMillin drew the lead off walk and later came around to score on a RBI ground out by Troy Forton to take the lead, 2-1.
The Maroon and Gold were aided in the bottom of the frame however, as Dean reached on an error and moved to third on a single by senior Nate Theunissen before scoring on a failed pick off attempt by Will Nimke, tying the game 2-2.
Freshman Sean Renzi came on the mound in the top of the eighth and promptly got a ground out, fly out and struck out Jared Kujawa to earn his first collegiate win.
Theunissen led the way at the plate for the Chippewas, going 2-for-4 to move just one hit shy of the CMU all-time record of 252 set by Jim Geldhof.
Patrick Borlick suffered the loss for the Broncos, giving up two hits and the game-winning run in one inning pitched.
2012 MAC Tournament Seedings (Wednesday's First Round Matchups)
#1 Kent State vs. #8 Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
#2 Toledo vs. #7 Miami, 4:00 p.m.
#3 Central Michigan vs. No. 6 Eastern Michigan, 12:30 p.m.
#4 Ohio vs. #5 Western Michigan, 9 a.m.