Chippewas Rally for 7-2 Win Over Northern Illinois
MOUNT PLEASANT – Sean Hoorelbeke’s three-run home run highlighted a six-run eighth inning as Central Michigan University rallied for a 7-2 win over Northern Illinois in Mid-American Conference baseball action on Friday.
The Chippewas (23-13 overall, 11-2 MAC), winners of 16 of their last 19 overall, now have their best conference record through 13 games since the 1990 MAC championship team opened 12-1.
Trailing 2-1 entering the eighth, the Chippewas put runners on second and third with nobody out against NIU starter Trevor Feeney. Feeney forced Ben Humphrey to foul out to the catcher, but after throwing a first-pitch ball to Hoorelbeke, was lifted for closer Matt German. German had allowed just one earned run in 20 appearances entering the game, but Hoorelbeke drilled his 2-1 offering over the wall in left to put CMU in front, 4-2.
German proceeded to hit Noah Lankford and Eric Cannon, then made an errant throw on Jeff Helps’ bunt single that allowed Lankford to score from second. After failing to record an out, he was relieved by Andy Deain who allowed a two-run double to the first batter he faced, Dale Cornstubble. Cannon and Helps scored on the hit to cap the six-run frame.
Josh Collmenter turned in another solid effort on the mound to improve to 6-2 for the Chippewas. He lasted eight innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits. He struck out six and walked one. Bryce Morrow worked a scoreless ninth inning in relief.
Collmenter is now 5-0 with a 0.64 earned-run average in five MAC starts this season.
NIU (20-14 overall, 9-4 MAC) took a 1-0 lead via an unearned run in the top of the first. Bobby Stevens led off the game with a walk, then moved to third on a stolen base attempt in which the throw got away from CMU second baseman Eric Cannon. Stevens later scored from third when Jesse Seykora reached on an error with two outs.
Seykora staked the Huskies to a 2-0 lead when he led off the fourth inning with his eighth home run of the season.
CMU, shut out on four hits through the first 5-2/3 innings, dented the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Lankford reached on an infield single, and Tyler Stovall scored when NIU second baseman Jordin Hood mishandled the ball on the play.
Stovall was 3-for-4 with three singles to raise his season average to .449. He also scored twice. Cornstubble was 2-for-4 at the plate in the win.
Danny Reed (2-for-4) was the lone player with more than one hit for NIU.
The teams return to Theunissen Stadium for game two of the series Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will air on WMMI-AM 830 in mid-Michigan, with live video and audio available through the CMU Sports Zone on cmuchippewas.com. It is Parent of Alumni Day at Theunissen Stadium, with those parents of baseball alumni in attendance invited to tour the clubhouse prior to the game and be introduced in the stands prior to first pitch.