COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Central Michigan battled to a 10-inning win at Bush Stadium Friday afternoon, defeating Tennessee Tech, 12-11.
Senior Eric Wrozek drove in a career-high seven runs, including his first career grand slam, and senior Nate Theunissen drove in junior Jordan Dean in the top of the 10th inning to give the Chippewas (8-10) the victory in game one of their three-game set with the Golden Eagles (6-11) this weekend.
The Chippewas held an 11-10 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, but junior Patrick Kaminska gave up his first run in five appearances as Ben Burgess led off with a single and later scored on a controversial single by Zach Stephens.
Redshirt freshman Nick Regnier appeared to make a basket catch to end the game, but the umpiring crew ruled that the ball hit the ground first, allowing Burgess to score and extend the game into extras.
In the top of the 10th, Dean and senior William Arnold hit back-to-back singles before Theunissen gave CMU its third-straight single of the inning to drive in Dean for the eventual game-winning run.
The Golden Eagles made one last push to extend the game in the bottom of the frame and nearly did so, but junior Randon Henika, who came in as a defensive replacement earlier in the inning, threw out Seth Lucio at the plate to end the game.
"We knew our players were a little upset about the call [in the bottom of the ninth], but we told them 'You can't do anything but move forward,'" head coach Steve Jaksa said. "We had to put our hitting gloves on and go to work and we did. We had a little bit of adversity, but I thought we responded very well and I'm pleased with that."
The Maroon and Gold jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Arnold and a two-run homer by Theunissen.
After TTU scored single runs in the bottom of the first and third innings, Wrozek drove in junior Jordan Adams for his first RBI of the game in the fourth to extend the Chippewas' lead back to 4-2.
Another run by Tennessee Tech cut its deficit in half, 4-3, before Wrozek hit his first career grand slam in the top of the sixth. Senior Sam Russell walked to lead off the inning and Adams followed with a single to right field before redshirt freshman Pat Mackenzie walked to load the bases. Wrozek then stepped to the plate and drove a 2-1 pitch to left center to give CMU an 8-3 lead.
The two teams then traded a trio of runs as the home squad scored three in the bottom of the sixth and the Chippewas responded with three of their own in the top of the seventh, including a two-RBI single by Wrozek that plated Adams and Regnier.
The Golden Eagles wouldn't go away however, leading off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run, walk and single off senior Zach Cooper that chased the ace from the game. Senior Jon Weaver came out of the bullpen to replace Cooper, but gave up two hits to allow TTU to pull within one, 11-10, heading into the ninth inning.
Kaminska (1-1) earned the win in extras after blowing the save in the ninth, tossing two innings and fanning two.
Three Chippewas finished with three hits in the contest as Theunissen, Adams and Regnier each went 3-for-6, while Dean recorded his 10th multi-hit game of the season going 2-for-6.
The two teams combined to rack up 37 hits in the contest - 17 by CMU and 20 by TTU -including 10 extra-base hits.
The Chippewas and Golden Eagles will resume the series at Bush Stadium Saturday afternoon with junior Rick Dodridge set to start for CMU. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.