AVON, Ohio — Central Michigan's remarkable run through the Mid-American Conference Tournament and quest for the tourney title came up short Saturday afternoon, as the No. 3 seeded Chippewas fell to No. 1 Kent State, 3-1.
The Chippewas (34-29) were seeking their fifth-straight win in the tournament, including their fourth within 36 hours, but were unable to come up with the key hits against the Golden Flashes' (41-17) pitching staff, leaving nine men on base.
A leadoff single by freshman Pat MacKenzie got things rolling for the Maroon and Gold in the top of the third before senior Tyler Hall moved MacKenzie over with a sacrifice bunt. Senior William Arnold then gave the Chippewas their only lead of the game, driving in MacKenzie from second with two outs for his ninth RBI of the tournament.
Junior Pat Kaminska cruised through the first three innings, stranding a Golden Flashes runner at second in the bottom of the second and working a perfect third before the home team on the scoreboard went to work.
MAC Player of the Year George Roberts singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth before Nick Hamilton hit a ground-rule double down the left field line to put runners on second and third. T.J. Sutton followed with a ground-rule double of his own down the opposite line to plate both runners and give Kent State the lead, 2-1.
Senior Ryan Longstreth came on and worked a scoreless fifth before the Flashes were able to take advantage of a miscue by the lefty in the sixth. Longstreth hit Sutton with one out and Sawyer Polen doubled down the right field line, forcing CMU to go back to its pen and call upon freshman Sean Renzi.
The freshman was able to induce a groundout, but Sutton scored from third, extending the lead to 3-1.
Kent State's David Starn came on in the fifth and allowed the leadoff batter to reach in all three innings he pitched against the Chippewas, but CMU was unable to mount a comeback.
Renzi helped keep the Chippewas within striking distance, tossing 2.2 perfect innings and striking out four of the eight batters he faced.