TROY, Ala. - Central Michigan gave up just two hits to Troy in its season opener Friday night, but nine walks and four errors deemed costly as it fell, 7-3, at Riddle-Pace Field.
The Chippewas (0-1) gave up five unearned runs in the contest, including two in the second and three in the eighth as the Trojans (1-0) claimed the first of the four-game series in front of a crowd of 1,648.
"The effort was there, we just didn't execute the plays we should have tonight," head coach Steve Jaksa said. "Our pitching staff did a great job only giving up two hits, but we walked too many guys, hit too many guys and had a couple of plays we should have made. We have to get better as a team, but this is just game one and as the season goes on we are going to make the plays we didn't make tonight."
After CMU took the lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI groundout by senior William Arnold that plated junior Jordan Dean, Troy came back with three runs in the bottom of the second.
A leadoff walk given up by senior Zach Cooper, a single by Danny Collins and another walk loaded the bases, allowing Troy to tie the game, 1-1, on an fielder's choice and error by junior Tom Lally. Another fielder's choice on an unsuccessful double play attempt and a groundout to Nate Theunissen gave the Trojans the lead, 3-1.
Preseason All-American Tyler Ray then went to work for the Trojans, striking out six over the next three innings allowing the home team to add to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Josh McDorman recorded the second and final hit of the night for Troy and later came around to score on an error by senior Sam Russell, extending the lead to three, 4-1.
Arnold slowed Ray down to pull the Chippewas back within two in the top of the sixth, hitting his first home run of the season over the left field wall. The home run also extended the senior's hitting streak to nine games after he tallied eight straight to close last season.
The Maroon and Gold nearly completed the comeback in the top of the eighth as Arnold once again sparked the offense with a single to centerfield that the defender juggled, allowing Lally to score all the way from first. With no outs and Arnold on second, relievers Nate Hill and Tyson Workman got Theunissen and Russell to strike out on back-to-back at bats and pinch hitter Reid Rooney lined out to center to end the rally.
More control issues allowed the game to get away in the bottom of the frame after the attempted comeback, as freshman Sean Renzi hit three batters in the inning and gave up two walks, allowing Troy to score three unearned runs for the final 7-3 score.
Arnold finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate to lead CMU, driving in two runs while Theunissen and senior Eric Wrozek each recorded a hit.
Cooper suffered the loss for the Chippewas, giving up four runs (one earned) on two hits and six walks over six innings while also striking out seven in the effort. Ray earned his 13th consecutive win for the Trojans, going six innings and striking out eight while giving up just two hits and two runs (one earned).
The Chippewas and Trojans, who were slated to resume the series Saturday at 2 p.m. EST, will move game one of the twin bill to noon in an attempt to avoid possible inclement weather. Game two will begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one.