Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sabol goes the distance again as CMU baseball completes sweep of Akron

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || April 10, 2011

Early last week, after a Sunday shutout of Ohio, Central Michigan head coach Steve Jaksa joked about getting eight (or nine) more shutouts from starting pitcher Jake Sabol.

A week later and the senior right-hander is only six (or seven) away.

On Sunday, Sabol and the Chippewas put an exclamation point on a weekend sweep of Akron with a 10-0 drubbing at Lee R. Jackson Baseball Field in Akron, Ohio.

“I’m really happy for Jake right now,” Jaksa said. “He’s throwing the ball well.”

Sabol stymied the Zips to the tune of four hits and four strikeouts on an economical 86 pitches to earn his second straight complete game shutout victory. The win was the fifth consecutive for CMU (16-17, 5-4 Mid-American Conference).

“From the outside looking in,” Jaksa said, “We got three wins. I thought we played well, but I thought we played well the first (conference) weekend when we lost three games.”

Sabol faced his only real adversity of the series finale in the first inning when, with a runner on third and one out and Akron’s best hitter — center fielder Drew Turocy — at the plate, he retired Turocy swinging and induced a fly out from Akron cleanup hitter Kurt Gamby.

“It was huge,” Jaksa said of the strikeout.

“It was definitely big,” Sabol said. “I think that set the tone.”

And in the second inning, the Chippewas offense set another tone with a big inning, plating six runs on three hits.

Tyler Hall’s two-run double was the first of four hits on the day for the junior infielder and gave Sabol more than enough breathing room the rest of the way.

“We’ve been swinging the bats really well,” Sabol said. “It’s definitely easier to pitch with a big lead.”

Sabol’s consecutive scoreless innings streak now stands at 18 innings, while Akron’s conference losing streak now stands at nine games.

After the strikeout of Turocy, Sabol never allowed another Akron runner to reach third base.

“They were pretty aggressive, swinging at a lot of first pitches,” he said. “I just tried to stay effective with my sinker, throwing first-pitch strikes and getting them out of the box quick. Just like last weekend.”

Hall had two doubles, three RBI, scored two runs and added a walk to his perfect 4-for-4 day. He leads the team with a .344 average and “Put some really nice swings on the ball,” according to Jaksa.

Saturday doubleheader

On Saturday, the Chippewas swept a doubleheader forced by Friday night rain in a pair of one-run victories.

In the opener, CMU took advantage of four Akron errors and junior left-hander Trent Howard picked up his third win of the season, allowing an unearned run on four hits in seven innings.

In the nightcap, sophomore reliever Dietrich Enns picked up his second save of the day, striking out back-to-back Akron batters looking to preserve an 8-7 victory.

CMU responded to three Zips runs in the first with six of its own in the second.

Senior infielder Brendan Emmett had four hits.

“We have some lineups we’re comfortable with,” Jaksa said. “The guys are in a good place but we need to keep marching forward.”

Junior Zach Cooper was the winning pitcher and all three Chippewas starting pitchers earned victories on the weekend.

“Right now, we’re comfortable with our top three guys in the rotation,” Jaksa said.

The team returns to action on Friday with a weekend series against Kent State at Theunissen Stadium.

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