COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Central Michigan gave up two two-run home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday afternoon, falling to Tennessee Tech, 7-4.
The Chippewas (8-11) held a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth and appeared to be on their way to their third-straight victory after senior Ryan Longstreth retired the first two batters of the inning.
The Golden Eagles (7-11) rallied however, getting a single from Michael Morris followed by a home run by Zach Stephens to take the lead, 5-4. Evan Frazier then hit another single for the home team and Ben Burgess gave TTU its second two-out two-run homer of the inning with a shot to center field for the 7-4 score.
Senior Nate Theunissen singled to lead off the top of the ninth, but Garrett Baugh got senior Sam Russell to strike out swinging, redshirt freshman Nick Regnier to fly out and junior Jordan Adams to foul out to end the game.
"We played a good ball game today after playing a good ball game yesterday," head coach Steve Jaksa said. "Today was a real hard fought game right down to the end and it was nip and tuck the whole time. We want to be ready to go tomorrow and win this series and continue the momentum into next week when we open Mid-American Conference play."
The Chippewas took an early lead over the Golden Eagles for the second-straight day, scoring single runs in the second and third innings on a double by Adams that scored Regnier and a single by senior William Arnold that plated junior Tom Lally.
TTU cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third, 2-1, with a leadoff home run by Dylan Booshers, but junior starter Rick Dodridge was able to kill the rally by picking off a runner at first and fanning Morris to end the inning.
Freshman Joey Houlihan extended the Chippewas' lead to three, 4-1, in the top of the sixth, hitting his first career home run. Junior Randon Henika singled with two outs before Houlihan came to the plate and drove a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence.
The Golden Eagles responded once again with a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth that chased Dodridge from the game. The junior did not factor in the decision after giving up three runs on six hits and walk while striking out three.
Longstreth, who was slated to start Sunday's series finale, entered in the bottom of the seventh for the Chippewas and worked an easy one-two-three inning, getting a strikeout, groundout and a lineout before his troubled eighth inning.
The senior suffered the loss to fall to 2-2 on the season, giving up four runs on four hits while fanning three.
Adams finished the game 2-for-5 with a RBI while Houlihan went 1-for-4 with the two-run shot. Junior Jordan Dean also collected his 11th multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4, to extend his current hitting streak to 10 games.
The Chippewas and Golden Eagles will play the rubber match of the series tomorrow afternoon with the first pitch set for 1 p.m.