Despite earning more hits in both games of the doubleheader, the Seattle University baseball team was unable to take advantage of enough of its opportunities, and Central Michigan struck late in the first game and early in the second one to sweep the Redhawks, 8-7 and 4-1, Wednesday afternoon at Theunissen Stadium.
The two teams agreed to limit the first game to seven innings, and Seattle U struck first in the top of the second inning, starting with a one-out single by Jace Sloan (Puyallup, Wash.). Bryndon Ecklund (Elma, Wash.) was hit by a pitch, and Nick Latta (Tacoma, Wash.) followed with a single that drove in Sloan. Central Michigan starter Matt Trowbridge threw away a pickoff attempt, allowing Ecklund to come around to score.
The Chippewas' shaky defense continued, as shortstop Jordan Dean threw away the ball on a grounder hit by Marcelino Morales (Pasco, Wash.), allowing Latta to score the third run of the inning. Trent Oleszczuk (Beaverton, Ore.) singled, and both runners advanced one base on a passed ball. Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) drove in Morales with a single to left field, giving Seattle U a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, Central Michigan loaded the bases when Jordan Adams singled, Tom Lally walked, and Eric Wrozek reached on a bunt single. Seattle U starter Bryan Dalton (Vancouver, Wash.) walked Pat MacKenzie, forcing in Adams with the home team's first run.
A single by Tyler Hall scored Lally, and Wrozek would come in to score on a double play to bring the Chippewas to within one at 4-3. Dalton was lifted after walking William Arnold, but Jake Chutney (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) came on and picked up the last out of the inning to keep the Redhawks ahead.
In the fourth inning, Central Michigan tied the game as Wrozek drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single by Hall. After Dean reached on catcher's interference, Arnold sent a ball far over the left field wall for a three-run home run, giving the Chippewas a 7-4 lead.
Seattle U answered in the top of the fifth inning when, in a repeat of the second inning, Sloan singled and Ecklund was hit by a pitch. Sean Renzi came on in relief of Trowbridge and struck out the next two Redhawk batters. However, singles by Oleszczuk and Roberts allowed Seattle U to cut its deficit to one at 7-6. An infield single by Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.) loaded the bases, and Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) drew a walk that forced in Oleszczuk with the game-tying run.
The game remained tied until the seventh inning when Sam Russell led off with a walk, Adams singled, and Nick Regnier reached on a bunt single, loading the bases with no one out. Redhawk reliever Garrett Anderson (Kennewick, Wash.) threw a wild pitch, allowing Russell to score the game-winning run.
Central Michigan (25-25) jumped on top in the first inning of the second game as Hall led off with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, reached third on a flyout, and scored on a single by Russell. The Chippewas added three runs in the second inning on an RBI double by Hall that scored Reid Rooney and MacKenzie, followed by a single by Dean that drove in Hall.
Seattle U broke through in the top of the sixth inning as Olson drew a one-out walk and Sloan followed with a double down the right field line. Roberts walked to load the bases, and a wild pitch thrown by Central Michigan reliever Dylan Rheault allowed Olson to score. After pinch hitter Doug Kincaid (Portland, Ore.) drew a walk to load the bases again, Ryan Longstreth replaced Rheault and retired the next two Redhawk batters to end the scoring threat.
Evan Ewing (Spokane, Wash.) started the game for Seattle U and took the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings of work. Kyle Doyle (Covington, Wash.) and Blaine Jones (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) shut down the Chippewa offense, combining for 4 1/3 innings of one-hit relief.
Rick Dodridge earned the game two victory for Central Michigan, allowing five hits and two walks in five innings while striking out five Redhawk batters. After picking up the victory in the first game of the doubleheader with just nine pitches thrown, Jon Weaver came back to pitch the ninth inning of the second game, allowing two hits but striking out the final Seattle U hitter to earn the save.
Seattle U left 23 runners on base in the two games as it earned one more hit than Central Michigan in each game. Somers and Sloan each went 4-for-7 in the doubleheader as both players pushed their season batting average to .304, tops for the Redhawks. Hall led Central Michigan from the leadoff spot, putting together a 4-for-7 day at the plate with three runs scored and four runs batted in.
Seattle University (21-22) will head to Columbus, Ohio, for a three-game series against the Ohio State Buckeyes, starting Friday, May 11, at 6:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. Pacific time). Dan Giuliani will broadcast all three games of the series on GoSeattleU.com.