MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan dropped its home opener at Theunissen Stadium Tuesday afternoon, falling to Madonna, 6-3.
The Chippewas (6-10) led, 3-1, in the top of the fifth, but the Crusaders' (15-9) Billy Hardin III came up with a two-out two-RBI double to right field that scored Dan Harder and Josh Deeg to even the game, 3-3.
Madonna broke things open in the top of the seventh with three runs on three hits, including a two-RBI single by Drew Adamiec with two outs. Adamiec drove a ball to left field, plating Hardin and Spencer Sarel before being thrown out by senior Sam Russell at second base to end the inning.
CMU attempted to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning as pinch hitter Reid Rooney drew a leadoff walk and redshirt freshman Pat MacKenzie singled, but Madonna's Matthew Cook was able to retire the next three batters to end the game.
"We didn't get any two-out hits," head coach Steve Jaksa said. "That was the biggest thing, we just couldn't get anything going. We had a couple of opportunities, but you have to get the hits. All of their runs came on two outs and that was the difference in the ball game."
The Chippewas jumped out front with three runs in the first inning Tuesday afternoon, including junior Jordan Dean's second home run of the season off the scoreboard in left centerfield. After senior Nate Theunissen was hit by a pitch and Russell walked, junior Jordan Adams reached on an error by Deeg in right field to plate two more runs for the 3-0 lead.
Freshman righty Jordan Foley then went to work for the Chippewas, striking out two batters each in the first two innings before allowing a run in the top of the third. Foley did not earn a decision in the contest despite striking out a season-high eight batters over six innings of work.
Fellow freshman Sean Renzi (0-1) replaced Foley in the top of the seventh, lasting just two-thirds of an inning, and suffered the loss after giving up three runs.
Cook (4-0) earned the win for the Crusaders, tossing the final five innings of the game out of the bullpen and giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out three. Cook also reached base five times in the contest at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two walks and reaching on a hit by pitch.
Dean finished the day 2-for-5 for the Chippewas with his solo home run, while Regnier, Theunissen, MacKenzie and junior Tom Lally each recorded one hit.
The Chippewas will look to bounce back tomorrow afternoon at Theunissen Stadium versus Davenport. Freshman Matt Trowbridge will get the start on the mound with the first pitch set for 3:05 p.m.