Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baseball caps off series with win

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || February 20, 2011

The Central Michigan baseball team split its season-opening series against Florida Gulf Coast University over the weekend.

On Sunday, the Chippewas, led by a three-hit performance from sophomore second baseman Jordan Dean, defeated the Eagles, 10-5, at Swanson Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla.

“I was really happy with how we responded today,” head coach Steve Jaksa said. “I liked how we played and it was good to get a win today.”

After getting swept in an afternoon doubleheader on Saturday, the Chippewas never trailed in Sunday’s series finale and leaned on the shoulders of junior starting pitcher Ryan Longstreth and sophomore relief pitcher Scott Marinier for the victory.

Longstreth pitched four-plus innings, allowing three earned runs and Marinier was tabbed with the victory, striking out six and allowing three hits in four and two-thirds innings of relief.

“We got two real nice pitching performances,” Jaksa said, noting that Marinier’s stuff was “quite frankly lights out.”

Senior outfielder Matt Faiman led off the game with a solo home run to left field, CMU added another run in the first and didn’t look back.

The Eagles cut the lead to one run on two occasions, but were unable to get closer than three after the Chippewas scored four in the fifth inning.

“When they scored, we answered with runs,” Jaksa said. “We played nine good innings.”

Dean led off the fourth inning with a home run to left field and recorded his third multi-hit game in as many starts.

“Being down in the order I think helps me,” he said. “I get to see a lot of fastballs and I took advantage of one.”

The sophomore went 8-for-13 on the weekend, driving in four runs with a pair of runs scored.

“The most important thing for me was his approach,” Jaksa said. “He was calm at the plate, trusted what he could do and didn’t swing at bad pitches.”

Sophomore catcher Jordan Adams went 2-4 with a pair of RBI and doubled twice.

Weekend results

On Saturday, the Chippewas dropped both games in an afternoon doubleheader.

In the first game, the team couldn’t recover after three first-inning errors led to six Eagles runs and a 10-7 defeat; and in the second, FGCU infielder Stephen Wickens singled home the game-winning run in the 11th inning for a 4-3 Eagles victory.

On Friday, CMU blew a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth but recovered to score a pair of runs in the 10th inning for an 8-6 season-opening victory.

“We liked what we did this weekend,” Jaksa said. “That’s going to be a really good team when you look at them at the end of the season and I feel pretty good about where we’re at.”

The Chippewas (2-2) resume play Friday, on the road against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

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