MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan scored four runs in the first inning and held off a stingy Northwood team Tuesday afternoon at Theunissen Stadium, 4-3.
The Chippewas (9-12) scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and it proved to be just enough offense in their final tune up before opening Mid-American Conference play this weekend at home versus Buffalo.
Junior Tom Lally got things going in the first with a leadoff single to right field and advanced to third when senior Tyler Hall, who was in the lineup for the first time this season after missing the first 20 games due to injury, hit a blooper into center field. After a walk to senior William Arnold loaded the bases, senior Nate Theunissen hit a slow roller to the pitch who threw home to get what appeared to be the first out of the inning, but the Timberwolves' (9-2) Ryan Palmer pulled his foot from the plate, allowing Lally to score.
Senior Sam Russell then hit a single on a 3-2 pitch that drove in Hall and Arnold before junior Jordan Adams grounded out to the shortstop, allowing Theunissen to score, for a 4-0 CMU lead after one.
"That first inning won the game for us," head coach Steve Jaksa said. "We got a couple hits right off the bat and three of our five hits came in that inning, even though I thought we had a lot of good at bats. We got out in front and were able to pitch really well."
Freshman Matt Trowbridge then went to work for the Maroon and Gold, pitching an effectively wild game, to shut down the Timberwolves over the first five innings.
Northwood was finally able to get on the board in the top of the sixth as Trowbridge was unable to get an out before loading the bases and getting chased from the game. Senior Ryan Longstreth came out of the bullpen and got a double-play and groundout to end the inning, holding the Timberwolves to just one run.
Junior Reid Rooney came on in relief for CMU in the top of the eighth looking to hold onto the lead, but lasted just two-thirds of an inning while giving up two runs on three hits as NU pulled within one, 4-3.
Senior Jon Weaver then came on and got out of the jam for the Chippewas in the eighth and after giving up a single and sac bunt in the ninth, got a strikeout and come backer to end the game and earn his second save of the season.
Trowbridge (3-0) earned the win after giving up just one run one two hits and six walks over five innings, while fanning a career-high six. The freshman has now won his first three collegiate starts.
Russell finished the game 1-for-4 with two RBI as the Chippewas were held to just five hits in the contest. Junior Jordan Dean, who was named MAC West Player of the Week earlier in the day, was held hitless for the first time in 11 games, going 0-for-4.
The Chippewas and Bulls will open up MAC play this Friday at Theunissen Stadium at 3:05 p.m. CMU was picked to win its third-straight MAC West Division title, while UB was picked to finish sixth in the MAC East.