Central Michigan is good, but it also helps to be a little fortunate.
After Marshall had taken a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, the Chippewas turned a ninth-inning error into three unearned runs in a 10-8 win Saturday at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley.
The Thundering Herd (7-10) battled back twice in the third game of the series, including a five-run fifth inning against starter Pat Kaminska for a 6-5 lead. Central Michigan regained the lead 7-6 in the seventh before Chase Vogelbach’s two-run triple in the eighth put the Herd back on top 8-7.
Closer Matt Margaritonda was entrusted to hold the Chippewas (9-9) down in the ninth, but the plan did not materialize.
Magaritonda struck out Pat MacKenzie to start the inning, but consecutive singles by Nick Regnier and Jordan Adams put runners on the corners. Zack Fields then hit a comebacker to Margaritonda, and that’s where the trouble began.
Margaritonda thought about throwing to second base to force pinch-runner Tom Lally, but instead checked Regnier at third. He then turned and threw to first to get Fields, but the ball sailed over Alfredo Brito’s head. Regnier and Lally both scored on the error and Fields went all the way to third with the Chippewas now leading 9-8.
Fields scored an insurance run with two outs on a single by Neal Jacobs.
Chippewas closer Matt Trowbridge pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save of the season.
“Yeah, it is (a tough way to lose),” Marshall coach Jeff Waggoner said. “But at the same time, we faced some adversity in the game. We were down and the guys battled back.”
Margaritonda (0-3) allowed three hits and struck out two, but the costly error helped the Chippewas assure themselves of winning the series.
“I don’t know how good we are yet, to be honest with you,” Central Michigan coach Steve Jaksa said. “I know we’re playing the whole game, and as long as you play the whole game you give yourself a chance. Sometimes, if you put the right kind of pressure on somebody, maybe you get a break here and there.”
Marshall starter Wayland Moore battled through early struggles to put together a good line. He did allow five runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings and also hit two batters, but the senior left-hander had nine strikeouts and zero walks.
Moore and three Marshall relievers combined for 13 strikeouts and just two walks.
“Wayland came out struggling, but he made an adjustment and kept us in the game,” Waggoner said. “That’s all we can ask for. We just fell short at the end.”
Kaminska also pitched well, but his numbers were skewed by Marshall’s five-run fifth. The senior right-hander allowed Gray Stafford’s solo home run to deep left with two out in the first before retiring 10 straight.
Brito’s bloop single to shallow right ended that run, and Matt Kirkwood blooped one to almost the same spot one out later. Kaminska did walk Aaron Bossi to load the bases before Sergio Leon hit a bouncer to Adams at third. But Adams double-clutched his throw to second, which sailed into right field, allowing Brito and Kirkwood to score.
Isaac Ballou barely beat out a squeeze bunt to score Bossi with the tying run. Andrew Dundon’s single to right drove in Leon to put Marshall ahead 6-5.
Kaminska stayed in the game and tossed a perfect seventh before giving way to his bullpen. He struck out five and walked one, allowing five hits and six runs.
Sean Renzi (1-1) got the win for the Chippewas. He allowed Vogelbach’s triple in the eighth, but both runs were charged to Blake Louscher.
Marshall will try to avoid a series sweep when the teams meet at noon today. Michael Taylor (1-1, 1.17 earned run average) will start for the Herd against the Chippewas’ Rick Dodridge (1-2, 2.19).
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CMU: 130 100 203 — 10 12 1
MU: 100 050 020 — 8 7 4
CMU: Pat Kaminska, Blake Louscher (7), Sean Renzi (8), Matt Trowbridge (9) and Alec Ornelas, MU: Wayland Moore, Ryan Hopkins (7), Josh King (8), Matt Margaritonda (9) and Matt Kirkwood. WP — Renzi. LP — Margaritonda. Hitting — CMU: Logan Regnier 1-5 (2b, 2 rbi), Pat MacKenzie 1-4 (rbi), Nick Regnier 2-4 (3 runs), Jordan Adams 1-4, Zack Fields 1-5 (2b, rbi), Neal Jacobs 3-5 (3 rbi), Ornelas 2-5 (2 2b, 2 runs), Morgan Oliver 1-3 (rbi), MU: Isaac Ballou 1-4 (rbi), Andrew Dundon 1-5 (rbi), Gray Stafford 1-4 (hr, 2 rbi, 2 runs), Eric Escobedo 1-4 (run), Alfredo Brito 1-3 (rbi), Chase Vogelbach 1-4 (3b, 2 rbi), Kirkwood 1-4 (run), Aaron Bossi (rbi), Sergio Leon (run, rbi).
Records: CMU: 9-9; MU: 7-10.
Central Michigan is good, but it also helps to be a little fortunate.
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