TOLEDO, OH – Toledo scored nine runs in the middle three innings en route to an 11-1 victory over Central Michigan in Friday’s series opener at Scott Park. With the win, the Rockets improve to 13-24 overall and 6-7 in the the Mid-American Conference.
UT finished with a MAC season-high 16 hits against three CMU hurlers to win their third-consecutive league contest. Senior Jake Swint (4-for-5, 3 RS) and sophomore Aaron Dudley (4-for-5, 3 RBI, 2 RS) led the offensive onslaught with four hits each. Senior Drew Hoisington (2-for-4, 2 RS) and freshman Jim Vahalik (2-for-5, 3 RBI) also had multi-hit efforts in the victory. Eight of the nine Toledo starters finished with hits.
The home team also received an outstanding starting pitching performance from sophomore Justin Collop (3-5), who allowed one run on nine hits with four strikeouts over eight innings. Collop was aided in the winning effort by three CMU double plays to snap a six-game losing skid against their West Division rivals.
Toledo started quickly and tallied one run in the opening frame on a RBI single off the bat of Dudley. After the first out was recorded, the Rockets strung together back-to-back singles to put a pair of runners on base, before Dudley laced a run-scoring single through the right side to collect his team-best 32nd RBI of the season.
The score remained the same until the fourth when the Rockets plated two runs to make it a three-run contest. Junior Jake Oester and Dudley led off the inning with a single and walk and both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Vahalik then stepped to the plate and delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single up the middle.
CMU’s (21-19, 8-7 MAC) Noah Lankford spoiled the shutout with a solo home run on the first pitch in the fifth inning, but that proved to be the only offense the visitors could muster.
UT quickly retaliated with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 8-1. The home team sent 10 batters to the plate against CMU starter Eric Lawrence (2-5) and each of the first five players crossed the plate. The big hit in the frame was a two-run double to right-center by Dudley.
The home team continued to pour it with two insurance runs in the sixth to send CMU’s Carpenter to the showers. Oester and freshman Jared Hoying collected RBI’s in the inning.
Two frames later, UT finished off the scoring with a single run on Vahalik’s third RBI of the game.
Jeff Helps (2-for-4), Dale Cornstubble (2-for-3) and Lankford (2-for-3, RBI) paced the Chippewas, who saw their six-game winning streak come to an end, with two hits apiece.
The two teams will continue their three-game series tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.