MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Central Michigan dropped its second-straight contest to Akron on Saturday afternoon, 11-2.
The Chippewas’ (22-27, 9-14) offense was able to muster just five hits in the contest and was shutout through the first eight innings before sophomores Cody Leichman and Tyler Huntey each drove in a run with sacrifice flies in the ninth to prevent Zips (15-32, 10-12 MAC) starter John Valek from going the distance.
Valek earned the win for the Zips by tossing 8.1 innings and giving up just the two earned runs on five hits while striking out four.
Central Michigan freshman starter Taylor Lehnert came out strong and retired the first seven batters he faced before a steady rain began to fall at Theunissen Stadium and the Zips found their groove.
After back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the third, Joey Havrilak roped a double to left center to give the Zips a 2-0 lead. A walk to Matt Rembielak put runners on first and second before a routine fly ball out to center field ended strangely and resulted in the Zips’ third run.
Sophomore Nick Regnier made the catch in center field and quickly returned the ball to the infield to prevent the runners from tagging up, but as the ball rolled through the wet grass, the Chippewas tossed the ball into the dugout before calling timeout, resulting in a two-base error and a 3-0 deficit. Rembielak would take home on a double steal attempt later in the inning for a 4-0 Akron lead.
Cale Giddings gave the Zips a 6-0 advantage in the fourth on his first career home run and his second home run of the contest in the top of the eighth inning pushed the lead to 8-0.
The Zips would ultimately take a 11-0 lead in the top of the ninth before the Chippewas were finally able to get on the board in the bottom of the frame for the final 11-2 tally.
Lehnert suffered the loss to fall to 3-4 on the season, tossing six inning and giving up seven runs – five earned – on eight hits and a pair of walks while striking out three.
CMU will look to prevent the sweep Sunday afternoon in the series finale at 1:05 p.m.