MAC Tournament Bracket
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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (courtesy CMU Sports Info.)
-- It looked as though the championship run might be slipping away from the Central Michigan baseball team as they entered the bottom of the ninth down three to Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference tournament championship play-in game, but the Chippewas showed champion's resolve and rallied for four runs to claim a 9-8 victory at VA Memorial Stadium to advance into the championship game.
The Chippewas (36-21) plated the winning run on a single into right center off the bat of Ricky Clark to score Nate Theunissen and eliminate the Falcons (31-23-1) from the postseason after BGSU had rallied for eight unanswered runs to erase a 5-0 CMU lead.
The Chippewas jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with three in the first, one in the second and one in the fifth. Nate Theunissen drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to open the scoring and Billy Anderson knocked in two with a triple to right center.
Matt Faiman drove in a run with a grounder after Clark and Harman started the inning with a walk and a single for a 4-0 edge and Anderson tacked on the fifth run on a single off the glove of BGSU shortstop Jon Berti to plate James Teas.
Trent Howard looked unhittable early in his first start since March 19 against Illinois State.
The sophomore two-time All-MAC pick faced just four over the minimum in five shutout innings before BGSU finally touched him up for a run in the sixth.
The Falcons touched Howard up for two more in the seventh and plated five in the eighth, aided by a throwing error by reliever Dietrich Enns on a bunt attempt trying to retire the lead runner. Two runs scored on the error and three more touched home on a single by Dennis Vaughn and a miscue by the Chippewas.
Matt Faiman started the ninth-inning rally off with a single up the middle and Brendan Emmett followed with a single through the hole between first and second. Teas singled into the corner in left to plate Faiman and after a walk to Theunissen loaded the bases, Dale Cornstubble singled to right center scoring Emmett.
A sacrifice fly by Scott Phillion tied the game at eight with two down for Clark, who sent the Chippewas to their first MAC Tournament title game since 2005. The Chippewas have won the tournament twice, in 1994 and 1995.
Mike Nixon (5-3) was credited with the win, tossing a scoreless ninth. Howard went 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out six. Enns worked 1 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on two hits and a walk.
Richie O'Brien (4-3) took the loss, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning.
The Chippewas will face the winner of the No. 2 Kent State/No. 7 Eastern Michigan game this afternoon in the championship game.