AVON, Ohio — Senior Nate Theunissen hit two home runs, including a two-run walk-off shot in the bottom of the ninth, to help Central Michigan defeat Eastern Michigan and advance to the Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinals Friday evening.
The No. 3 Chippewas (32-28) will play No. 7 Miami at All Pro Freight Stadium at approximately 7:30, looking to extend their tournament and force a second game versus the RedHawks tomorrow.
With a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Theunissen stepped to the plate and sent a 1-0 pitch deep over the wall in right center to give the Chippewas the win, 6-4.
The Chippewas took the lead in the bottom of the first on a RBI-single by senior William Arnold, allowing junior Dietrich Enns to settle in on the mound. The left hander held the Eagles (25-31) without a hit through the first three innings before they were able to get on the board in the top of the fourth.
Tucker Rubino reached on a fielding error by freshman Pat MacKenzie, and Brent Ohrman recorded a double for the Eagles' first hit of the game, before Sam Ott drove both runners in with a double down the right field line to give EMU the lead, 2-1.
Junior Jordan Adams made a pivotal play to end the top of the fourth by getting Ott out at home when he was trying to score from second later in the inning, then turned around and led the bottom of the frame off with a solo shot to right center to tie the game at 2-2.
Errors in the sixth and seventh innings allowed the Eagles to reclaim the lead, 4-2, before the Chippewas' bats came alive in the bottom of the seventh.
With two outs and the bases empty, Arnold hit a solo shot to left center, and Theunissen made it back-to-back bombs with a solo shot to right, tying the game, 4-4.
Enns earned two big strikeouts in the eighth to keep the game tied and got the first batter of the ninth before being lifted when Ben Magsig hit a one-out double. Senior Jon Weaver came on for the second day in a row looking to get the Chippewas' out of the jam and did just so, striking out both batters he faced to earn his second win of the tournament.
Theunissen finished the day 2-for-5 with three RBI, while Arnold went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored, to lead the Chippewas.
Enns finished with 8.1 innings of work, allowing four runs - two earned - on six hits and five walks in the no decision.