Kalamazoo, Mich.- Central Michigan Softball swept Western Michigan on Sunday, 5-0 and 8-4. The Chippewas went 4-0 over the weekend, and have won 10 of their last 11 games.
In the first game CMU pulled away from the Broncos in the sixth inning, extending its lead to 4-0. Senior Brogan Darwin reached on a walk with one out, and was advanced over on a sac-bunt laid down by junior Raechel Zahrn. Senior Macy Merchant took first base after looking at ball four, bringing senior Summer Knoop to the plate. Knoop hit a double to left-center field to score both runners.
Freshman Taylor Waters, pinch running for sophomore Trista Cox, added one more to the Chippewas’ tally in the top of the seventh. After Cox walked and Waters took over her base running duties, junior Brittney Horan singled up the middle to score Waters all the way from first, putting Central Michigan up 5-0.
The Chippewas opened the scoring with one run in the third inning. Merchant took advantage of a fielding error by the Western Michigan to safely reach first. She stole her 15th base of the season to move into scoring position, and advanced to third after back-to-back walks. Sophomore CarolAnn Sexauer took ball four to bring Merchant into score.
In the fourth inning, Zahrn reached base on the Bronco’s second error of the game. Like Merchant in the third, she wasted no time in stealing second base. She was brought into score by Merchant’s fourth double of the season, giving Central Michigan a 2-0 advantage.
Merchant finished the game 1-3 with two runs and an RBI. Knoop went 1-2 with two RBIs and two walks. Senior Kara Dornbos pitched her fourth shutout this season, going 7.0 innings and only allowing four hits.
Melissa Palmer, Christina Pigozzi, Jenny Rohn and Colleen Lynch accounted for Western Michigan’s four hits, each finishing 1-3. Becca Shemberger pitched a complete game, walking 10 batters and giving up three earned runs.
The Chippewas continued their strong play in game two, taking an early 2-0 lead in the first. Merchant opened the game with a single up the middle and stole second base. Knoop walked for the third time on the day, and both runners advanced into scoring position on a sac-bunt by junior Cory DeLamielleure. Merchant went for her second stolen base of the inning, but was thrown out at home. After Sexauer watched ball four, freshman Katelyn Rentschler hit a single to score Knoop and Sexauer.
Central Michigan took control in the fourth inning, bringing around three more runs. Sexauer opened the side with a single to right-center. Junior Lauren Bowman came in as a pinch runner and scored on a Trista Cox single to center field. Up 3-0, and Waters pinch running for Cox, Horan hit a single to center to bring Waters home. Darwin doubled to score Horan, putting the Chippewas up 5-0.
The Broncos answered in the fifth inning, scoring their first run of the day on a homerun to left-center field by Lynch.
Western Michigan cut further into Central Michigan’s lead in the sixth, scoring two more runs. Diana Patterson singled with two outs, and was brought home by another Bronco homerun, this time from Loren Nagy.
Leading 5-3 heading into the top of the seventh, junior Kristen Kuhlman reached base on balls and then stole second. With two outs and a runner on second, Knoop hit a single down the left-field line to score Kuhlman, and advanced to second on the throw. DeLamielleure singled to move Knoop to third, and stole the Chippewas’ seventh base of the day to reach second. Sexauer brought both runners home with her ninth double of the season, giving Central Michigan an 8-3 advantage.
Western Michigan attempted to rally in the home half of the seventh with a solo homerun by Megan Stamm, but two pop ups spoiled the Broncos comeback.
Sexauer led the Chippewas with two RBIs and went 2-3 at the plate. Rentschler went 1-4 with two RBIs. Darwin, Knoop, Cox and Horan each finished the game 1-3 with an RBI. Junior Chelsea Sundberg pitched sixth complete game this season, striking out six batters and giving up five hits.
Nagy, Stamm and Lynch each went 1-3 with a homerun. Nagy led Western Michigan with two RBIs. Allyson Kus started in the circle for the Broncos, giving up six hits and two walks in 3.1 innings. Mackenzie Shepeck pitched 3.2 innings, striking out two batters and surrendering three earned runs.
Central Michigan will come home for a doubleheader against Bowling Green on Friday, April 19, at Margo Jonker Stadium and a two-game series against Toledo, on Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21.