MAC Tournament Central
MAC Tournament Bracket
Central Michigan 13, Western Michigan 12
MAC Tournament - Game Ten
WP - Martin (3-3)
LP - Heckaman (2-4)
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - After trading offensive punches in a 9-7 barnburner in Wednesday's opener against the opposing team's ace, neither Western Michigan or Central Michigan was about to slow down with their seasons on the line. The result was a 13-12 win for the Chippewas that marked the second-highest scoring contest in the four years the MAC Tournament has been held at VA Memorial Stadium.
The action started quickly as Western Michigan put a three-spot on the board in the top of the first. Ryan McMillin doubled down the left field line to score two before coming in himself on a fielder's choice grounder from Tim Cross.
Central Michigan responded in the bottom of the first with two of what would eventually be ten unanswered runs, with only one ball leaving the infield. An inning later, CMU's power came to the forefront. Sam Russell started it off with a home run to left field that leveled the game at 3-3. An error on Patrick Duncan at shortstop later allowed Robbie Harman in from third, giving CMU its first lead at 4-3. It would only grow from there. Tom Howard laced a two-out double to score runners from second and third, making it 6-3 in favor of the Chippewas. He gave way to Jordan Dean and Nate Theunissen who smashed consecutive balls over the wall, upping the lead to 9-3 and prompting WMU Head Coach Billy Gernon to pull starting pitcher Mike Moyer from the contest for reliever David Brennan. His first batter was Russell, batting for the second time in the frame and once again belting a home run over the wall in left, his seventh on the season.
Despite the large deficit, Western Michigan was able to quickly chip away with four runs in the top of the third inning, mostly due to a three-run bomb from Troy Forton, to work back into it trailing 10-7.
Central put one more on the board in the bottom of the third by playing station-to-station ball. Harman and Tyler Hall led off by getting to first and second with no one out. A ground ball to the right side moved both of them up ninety feet and a groundball by Will Arnold to the shortstop brought in Harman to make it 11-7 through three innings.
Both teams suddenly found the right defensive formula for the middle three innings as neither scored again until the top of the seventh when WMU's Jimmy Martinez just cleared the fence in right for a lead-off homer. The next six Bronco batters would all reach base to tie the game once again at 11-11 with no one out until Central Michigan reliever Harvey Martin got Zach Thoma to pop out to foul ground and managed a 4-6-3 double play from pinch-hitting Brad Wehrmeyer to get out of the jam.
Western's hit parade continued for the first two batters of the eighth inning as Martinez singled and moved up to second on a wild pitch, then turned for home and scored on a Grant Simotes single to right to give the Broncos their first lead since the first inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, WMU turned to Eric Heckaman to close things out. Russell began the Chippewas' rally by racing down the line to beat out a ground ball to short. Matt Faiman followed with a walk and Harman lined a ball between short and third to load the bases with no one out. Facing the top of the CMU order, Heckaman unleashed a wild pitch which scored Russell to tie the ballgame at 12-12 and put runners on second and third. After a walk and a strikeout, Arnold knocked in his second RBI of the contest to bring in Faiman and set off a wild celebration in the infield.
Central Michigan (31-26) survives to play Miami tonight at 7:30 p.m. Western Michigan closes its season at 26-31.
Top of the 1st
Ryan McMillin doubled down the left field line, Jimmy Martinez scored from third, Jack Scanlon scored from first
2-0 Western Michigan
Tim Cross reached on fielder's choice, McMillin scored from third, Patrick Duncan out at second on the play
3-0 Western Michigan
Bottom of the 1st
Tom Howard grounded out to third base, Brendan Emmett scored from third, Will Arnold advanced to third
3-1 Western Michigan
Jordan Dean reached on infield single to shortstop, Arnold scored from third
3-2 Western Michigan
Bottom of the 2nd
Sam Russell homered to left field
Emmett reached on error by shortstop, Robbie Harman scored from third, Tyler Hall advanced to second
4-3 Central Michigan
Howard doubled to left field, Hall scored from third, Emmett scored from second
6-3 Central Michigan
Dean homered to left field, Howard scored from second
8-3 Central Michigan
Nate Theunissen homered to right field
9-3 Central Michigan
Russell homered to left field
10-3 Central Michigan
Top of the 3rd
McMillin doubled off the center field wall, Grant Simotes scored from second
10-4 Central Michigan
Troy Forton homered to left field, McMillin scored from third, Cross scored from first
10-7 Central Michigan
Bottom of the 3rd
Arnold grounded out to the shortstop, Harman scored from third
11-7 Central Michigan
Top of the 7th
Martinez homered to right field
Central Michigan 11-8
Scanlon doubled to right-center, Simotes scored from first
Central Michigan 11-9
Duncan reached on a fielder's choice, Scanlon scored from third, McMillin safe at second on throwing error, advanced to third
Central Michigan 11-10
Forton singled to right field, McMillin scored, Duncan advanced to third, Cross advanced to second
Top of the 8th
Simotes singled to right field, Martinez scored from second
12-11 Western Michigan
Bottom of the 9th
Russell scored on a wild pitch, Faiman advanced to third, Harman advanced to second
Arnold singled through the right side, Faiman scored from third
Central Michigan 13-12