Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baseball enters Russ Matt on three-game losing streak

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || March 09, 2011

It was a tale of two losses.

After opening last weekend’s Bright House Invitational with a come-from-behind, extra innings win over Illinois, the Central Michigan baseball team dropped its final two games of the tournament and have lost three straight.

“We’ve been very competitive,” said head coach Steve Jaksa. “Unfortunately we haven’t been rewarded with a win these last few games, but that’s baseball.”

On Tuesday, the Chippewas fell to Stetson for the second time in three days, losing 9-1 after the Hatters pulled away with six runs in the eighth inning.

Left-handed starting pitcher Ryan Longstreth pitched seven solid innings but tired in the eighth and was charged with the loss.

Longstreth’s final line showed five earned runs, six hits allowed and four walks, but the senior kept CMU within striking distance until late.

“He really pitched well for us,” Jaksa said. “He retired so many guys in a row and [Stetson] did a good job of getting into our bullpen.”

In the top of the eighth inning, junior Sam Russell cut the lead to two after hitting his second home run of the season, a solo shot, but the Stetson six spot in the home half proved too much to overcome for the Chippewas (4-8).

“The end number didn’t look good,” Jaksa said, “But it was a heck of a game.”

And it was a heck of a game on Sunday as well, when a bases-loaded single from first baseman Ryan Lashley gave the Hatters a walk-off 9-8 win at Melching Field.

“It was tough,” Jaksa said. “We played very well and I was really happy with the way our guys came out with the energy and enthusiasm that they did.”

CMU erred in the ninth inning on a high chopper off home plate, when third baseman Tyler Hall and relief pitcher Harvey Martin collided.

Jaksa noted the play as a conflict in communication as the players battled the crowd noise.

“At the end of the day, we made a mistake and they capitalized on it,” he said.

Junior first baseman Nate Theunissen delivered a two-out, two-run single to tie the game in the eighth and three Chippewas recorded two hits in the game.

CMU went 1-2 in tournament play and dropped Saturday’s matinee in a 3-1 pitcher’s duel to Columbia.

Junior starting pitcher Trent Howard pitched well, striking out 11 in seven-plus innings of work but was outdueled by Columbia senior Geoff Whitaker, who kept the Chippewas off-balance and allowed only one run on four hits.

“The final analysis was their guy pitched a little bit better than our guy,” Jaksa said.

Senior right fielder Matt Faiman had two hits in the loss.

The Chippewas take on Lehigh at 3 p.m. Wednesday to open the Russ Matt Tournament in Winter Haven, Fla.

No comments: