MOUNT PLEASANT -- Robbie Harman pulled a base hit into the hole on the left side through a drawn in infield for the go-ahead run in the eighth as Central Michigan claimed a 5-4 victory over Kent State in the rubber match of the three-game Mid-American Conference series at Theunissen Stadium on Sunday.
The Chippewas (18-18, 7-5 MAC) erased deficits of 2-0 and 4-3, as the Golden Flashes (23-12, 9-3 MAC) benefitted from two big home runs off the bat of Travis Shaw.
KSU opened the scoring in the second, as a dropped third strike allowed leadoff batter Campbell to reach and a two-out single by James Koch plated Campbell for the first run against CMU starting pitcher Jake Sabol in 19 2/3 innings.
The first of Shaw's two home runs, a mammoth blast against the wind, sailed well beyond the right field fence for a 2-0 Kent State edge in the top of the third, but Central Michigan responded in its half of the inning.
In the fifth, Hall reached on a fielder's choice and stole second in front of Emmett's two-out RBI single into center on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game at two.
Matt Faiman reached on a wild pitch leading off the CMU sixth and moved up to second on Jordan Dean 's bunt single. Back-to-back strikeouts nearly allowed KSU starter David Starn to avoid further damage, but pinch-hitter Jordan Adams lifted a ball into left center that fell between three defenders for a wind-aided RBI double.
But Shaw would put the Flashes back in front in the seventh. After Derek Toadvine beat out a swinging bunt to lead off the inning, the next two batters were dispatched by reliever Dietrich Enns . But Shaw rifled a 1-2 pitch down the left field line that fought against the wind and banged off the foul pole to put KSU back in front, 4-3.
Another dropped third strike allowed Dean to reach leading off the CMU eighth and Sam Russell ripped a one-out double into the left field corner to score Dean from first. Rod Helsen drew a four-pitch walk, the final offering sailing to the backstop to allow Russell to move up to third.
With the infield drawn in, Harman pulled a 3-1 pitch through the drawn in defense for the deciding run.
Kent State would make it interesting in the ninth against Enns. Toadvine was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to second on a swinging bunt by Koch.
With two down, Jimmy Rider lifted the first pitch he saw deep to left field, and Russell banged off the wall to haul it in for the final out.
Enns picked up the win (4-1), giving up a run on two hits and a walk in three innings of relief. Sabol's day finished with three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk over six-plus innings. He struck out five.
Starn fanned 10 in just six innings of work, giving up three runs on eight hits and a walk. Justin Gill was tagged with his second loss in the series to fall to 2-2 after giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings.
The Chippewas have now won nine of their last 11, including a 7-2 mark in the last three conference series. The Maroon and Gold return to action on Wednesday for the Clash at Comerica, hosting the first college baseball game in the history of Comerica Park, against Michigan State.