MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The University of Akron (14-32, 9-12 MAC) baseball team won on Friday afternoon in 11 innings against Central Michigan University (22-26, 9-13) by a score of 8-7 in the opening game of a three game Mid-American Conference series at Theunissen Stadium.
"Our guys showed a lot of fight today," Head Coach Rick Rembielak said Friday. "Being down big early in the game and coming back the way we did showed a maturity we haven't had all year."
CMU fought back for a commanding 6-1 lead following a two-run first and a four-run second inning. The Chippewas battled Akron starter JT Brubaker through his 1.2 innings of work. Brubaker earned a no-decision for his 13th start of the season, while allowing six hits, six runs and striking out one batter.
Ahart cut the Zips deficit to four runs in the top of the third inning with his second RBI base hit of the day, this time scoring James Sheltrown. The four-run deficit would not remain, as CMU added a run in the fourth on reliever Andrew Fanning to bring the score to 7-2.
Following the fourth inning, the Akron Zips took control of the game on both sides of the ball. Sophomore Jon Pusateri jumped into a reliever role, registering 4.2 scoreless innings pitched with six strikeouts.
"Our biggest boost was Pusateri throwing the way he did. By far, this was his best outing," Rembielak said. "He's worked tremendously hard to get his confidence back, which translates to better control of his pitches."
Pusateri's outing allowed the Akron offense to go to work on the CMU pitching staff. UA began the comeback with an RBI groundout in the fifth inning by Matt LaRocca to plate Sheltrown from third, which cut the Akron deficit to 7-3.
Two more runs were plated by Akron in the seventh and eighth inning. The seventh inning run came on an Ahart sac fly, while Cale Giddings drove in the eighth inning's run on a single up the middle.
Akron was still down 7-5 in the top of the ninth inning, despite the three runs over the past four innings. Matt Rembielak led off the ninth with a double to left center, and then was immediately driven in by Ahart on a double to register his fourth RBI of the game.
Ahart went on to score the game-tying run on a wild pitch by the CMU reliever. The score was knotted at seven runs heading into extra innings.
Freshman Zach Beaver came out of the bullpen to work the ninth for the Zips. Beaver notched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to force the game into extras, and would also throw a scoreless 10th inning, which gave the Zips the chance to break the 7-7 tie in the top of the 11th inning.
Senior Jared Turocy led off the inning with a single to the CMU second basemen, which extended his consecutive game hit streak to 16 games. Turocy proceeded to advance to second on a wild pitch, prior to Tyler Begun reaching base on a hit-by-pitch.
With Zips on first and second, the Chippewa's reliever tossed the second wild pitch of the inning to allow the Zips to advance to second and third. MAC East Player of the Week Brady Stewart drove in the winning run on sac fly to right center field, plating Turocy.
Senior Samuel Trecaso worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season. Trecaso also did not allow a base runner in his relief outing.
Beaver was credited with the win on Friday, which improved his overall record to 3-2. The native of Canal Winchester, Ohio ended the game with 2.0 innings pitched with no hits allowed and one strikeout.
Akron and Central Michigan will matchup again on Saturday for the second game of the three game series at 1 p.m., in Theunissen Stadium. Freshman John Valek III will be on the mound for the Zips.