LAKE CHARLES, La. - Central Michigan scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh and then held off Southeastern Louisiana Friday afternoon to earn a win, 7-6, in the first of four games this weekend at Cowboy Diamond.
Down 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh, senior Eric Wrozek led off with a walk and advanced to second when redshirt freshman Pat MacKenzie was hit by a pitch. Another free pass put senior William Arnold on and loaded the bases before a Lions (7-2) error allowed Wrozek and MacKenzie to score and tie the game, 5-5.
Senior Sam Russell then ame to the plate with two outs and hit a timely double, scoring Arnold and senior Nate Theunissen to give the Chippewas (3-5) a 7-5 lead.
Junior Patrick Kaminska came in relief of freshman Jordan Foley in the top of the eight and hit the leadoff hitter, but the Chippewas were able to get out of the jam when junior Randon Henika caught a fly ball and doubled up Michael Rutland at second base.
Junior closer Dietrich Enns came on in the ninth and earned his first save of the season, but not before some work first. Brock Hebert lead off with a double for the Lions and advanced to third on a groundout one batter later before coming around to score on a RBI single by Cody Gougler, cutting the deficit to one, 7-6. Enns then struck out Jacob Fisher swinging and Arnold caught Ladd Rhodese, who was pinch running for Gougler, stealing to end the game.
"We were much more consistent today," head coach Steve Jaksa said. "We still had a few errors, but we were able to cut them down from having the big innings, which kept us in the game. We did some things to put pressure on them in our big inning, they made a mistake and we took advantage of it. There were a lot of good team things that happened today to give us some momentum going into tomorrow."
The Chippewas took an early lead in the contest, 3-0, scoring a run in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by Theunissen and a two-run home run by Dean in the second.
The Lions then came back with a pair of runs each in the third and fourth frames off senior Zach Cooper as the Chippewas' ace lasted just five innings after giving up four runs on five hits and six walks while striking out six.
Foley entered in relief for Cooper in the sixth, giving up a run that extended the SELA lead to two, 5-3. He earned his first collegiate win in the process, giving up just one hit and two walks over the two innings.
Dylan Hills (3-1) suffered the loss for the Lions, giving up three runs on one hit and three walks during his two innings of work.
Dean finished the night 2-for-4 with the two-run home run and two RBIs to lead the Chippewas, while Theunissen extended his hitting streak to 15 games with his RBI single in the first. Russell also finished the game 2-for4.The Maroon and Gold are back in action tomorrow for an unconventional doubleheader, as they will take on the Lions at 3 p.m. before playing host McNeese State at 7 p.m. at Cowboy Diamond. Live stats will be available for the second game of Saturday's doubleheader.