Baseball Bounces Back, Takes Series Opener From Western

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – When you get knocked down, priority No. 1 is to get right back up.

The Central Michigan offense got rolling on Friday, breaking a four-game losing streak with an 11-4 baseball victory over Western Michigan in the opener of a four-game Mid-American Conference series at Theunissen Stadium.

CMU is 29-14, 22-5 conference, and in second one game behind Ball State. WMU is 15-27, 12-16. The teams are set to play a Saturday doubleheader (noon) and will close the series on Sunday (1 pm).

The Chippewas were swept last weekend in a four-game series at Ball State.

“I thought our energy was good and our offense was consistent,” said CMU coach Jordan Bischel, whose team collected 15 hits. “We had good at-bats every inning, and if you put that pressure on every inning, good things are going to happen.

“I’d like to see us pound the strike zone just a little bit better, I thought that was a little bit up-and-down at times, but overall, good energy, good intent, and hopefully we’ll bring it again tomorrow. “

Ten Chippewas hit safely. Justin Simpson and Drew Lechnir finished with three each, while Robby Morgan had two. Jakob Marsee drove in three runs.

Lechnir laid claim to the only CMU-sided big blast – the first home run of his career – which came in the fifth inning to increase the Chippewas’ lead to 4-0.

“(Lechnir’s) been really good for us the last few weeks,” Bischel said. “It’s fun to see; he’s a guy that hit for a lot of power in high school and it’s slowly been coming.… He’s been swinging a great bat for us and it’s fun to see him have another big day today.”

The Broncos pulled within two, 6-4, in the seventh inning, and the Chippewas answered with five runs in the bottom half led by Adam Proctor’s two-run single.

Jordan Patty (5-3) got back to business on the mound in his first start since April 15 after recovering from an injury. He struck out six and allowed just one run on two hits over six innings. The Broncos’ lone run off Patty, a senior right-hander, came on a leadoff homer in the sixth.

Clayton Brock, Jake Jones and Ben Vitas each worked in relief, combining for three strikeouts.

The Chippewas continue to chase the Cardinals for the regular season title and the right to host the MAC Tournament. Ball State is set to open a four-game set at Kent State on Saturday.

The goal, Bischel said, is simply to play well.

“Historically, if we play really well, the standings have taken care of themselves,” said Bischel, whose team is the two-time defending league champion. “That’s been the message from day one and win or lose last weekend, that was going to stay the message.

“We played good baseball today, and if we do that, we have a chance to do some good things at the end of the year and I’m happy about that.”

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