MOUNT PLEASANT, MI – Toledo remained on top of the Mid-American Conference West Division standings with a doubleheader split at Central Michigan on Sunday at Theunissen Stadium. The Rockets won the opener, 3-1, before falling in the series finale, 3-0. With today’s split, UT moves its record to 18-20 overall, 11-7 in the league.
In game one, sophomore RHP Matt Kuna (2-1) allowed one unearned run on four hits over 7.0 frames to collect the victory. Senior RHP Jeff Cinadr came on in relief and tossed a scoreless eighth inning, while sophomore RHP Matt Zahel finished off the two-run triumph with a scoreless ninth to collect his MAC-leading eighth save this season.
The Rockets had eight hits off two CMU (19-23, 8-10 MAC) hurlers in the first contest, including a team-high two off the bat of sophomore Chris Dudics. The Shelby, OH native has now tallied two hits in each of the last six contests.
After neither squad generated any strong scoring chances through the first three innings, the Midnight Blue and Gold broke the scoreless tie with a RBI groundout off the bat of sophomore Jim Vahalik in the fourth. The Westerville, OH native, who had a career high four hits and six RBI on Friday, grounded out to the right side with a runner on third base to bring in the game’s first run.
The score remained in UT’s favor until the sixth, when CMU took advantage of a leadoff walk and a passed ball to draw the teams even at 1-1.
In the eighth, Toledo sophomore Dan Sherwood belted a two-run pinch hit double to drive in the eventual game-winning runs. Classmate Jared Hoying led off the frame with a bunt single and after a flyout, CMU starter Dan Taylor (3-5) was pulled in favor of Harvey Martin. The reliever struck out the first batter he faced, before issuing an intentional walk to set up the double play. Sherwood then stepped to the plate in place of freshman Joe Corfman and laced a two-base hit to left-center for the game winner.
CMU threatened in the bottom of the eighth and had runners on first and third base with only one out against Cinadr, but the four-year letterwinner recorded a strikeout and an infield popout to stall the potential rally.
In the nightcap, senior RHP Mike Inselmann (2-5) was outstanding in a season-high 7.2 innings, allowing only three runs (one earned) on just two hits with six strikeouts, but it just was not enough in the 3-0 shutout loss.
Inselmann was a little outdone by CMU’s Trent Howard (3-2), who surrendered no runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Four of UT’s seven hits came off the bat of junior Aaron Dudley, who has now had four hits in a contest on four occasions in his UT career.
Central Michigan tallied single runs in the first, fifth and eighth frames to deny the Rockets the weekend sweep. The home team took advantage of two UT errors in the first and another in the fifth to plate the first two runs of the contest.
In the eighth, the Chippewas finished off the scoring against three UT hurlers when they perfectly executed a triple steal to make the final margin 3-0.
The Rockets had a couple good scoring chances in the series finale, but they hit into two double plays to end the threat.
Toledo returns to action on Tuesday, April 28 when it travels to Bowling Green for a non-conference contest against its arch-rival Falcons. The first pitch from Steller Field is slated for 3:00 p.m. The ensuing afternoon, the Rockets venture to Rochester, MI to tangle with Oakland, also at 3:00 p.m.