Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chippewas drop three of four at UNLV

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || February 27, 2011

The Central Michigan baseball team is getting used to fighting back a week into the season.

On Saturday night, in the first game of a doubleheader at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and for the second time this season, the Chippewas squandered an eighth inning lead, reclaimed it and beat the Rebels, 9-7, in its final at-bats.

“We fought our way through it,” said head coach Steve Jaksa. “Our guys did a nice job of doing that.”

But the Chippewas couldn’t fight back in the final two games of the series and dropped three out of four games in the weekend series at Wilson Stadium.

In Sunday’s series finale, UNLV (7-1) scored a run each in five innings and rode a complete game from starting pitcher Tyler Iodence to a 5-2 victory.

“It was a hard fought game,” Jaksa said. “But at the end of the day, it was game where we were just beat.”

CMU mustered only six hits off of Iodence, pulled within one run late but couldn’t salvage its second split of the season. Senior first baseman Brendan Emmett recorded two hits and starting pitcher Ryan Longstreth was tabbed with the loss, pitching five and two thirds innings.

The junior southpaw struck out six and walked two.

“They scored five single runs and we only countered with two,” he said. “It’s tough to win that way.”

Late-inning win

In the team’s Saturday victory, hot-hitting sophomore second baseman Jordan Dean delivered the game-winning hit, singling home two runs up the middle in the top of the ninth to lead CMU (3-5) to the win.

The reigning Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week recorded three hits, drove in three runs and recorded three hits for the third time this season. He is riding a seven-game hitting streak.

“He’s swinging the bat real well,” Jaksa said.

The Rebels touched sophomore reliever Dietrich Enns for two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a triple by junior shortstop Daniel Higa, but CMU responded with three runs in the ninth and Enns picked up his first victory of the season.

“There’s a belief that they can do it,” Jaksa said about coming back. “We’ve done it before, we have the right guys to do it and they think that they can do it.”

In the Saturday nightcap, UNLV answered with a 7-2 victory, scoring runs in five of its first six innings and in the series-opener on Friday night, the Chippewas fell 10-2.

UNLV (7-1) recorded double-digit hit totals in all four games.

“We just didn’t get into a good flow,” Jaksa said about the weekend. “The games just got away from us.”

CMU returns to action on Friday against Illinois in the start of two Florida tournaments over spring break.

“It was a competitive series,” he said. “We have some things we can work on and when we hit this stretch, I think we’ll continue to make strides.”

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