TOLEDO, Ohio – Freshman RJ Shunck and senior Cal McAninch stifled the Central Michigan offense all game long as Toledo came away with a 5-2 victory on Sunday at Scott Park.
The win clinched the weekend series for the Rockets (25-26, 13-14 MAC), their first series win vs. the Chippewas (32-18, 18-9 MAC) since the 2013 season.
Shunck set career highs in innings pitched (4.0) and strikeouts (six) and McAninch tossed five innings in relief, tying for the longest outing of his career. The two Toledo hurlers combined to allow just two runs on four hits, three of which were singles.
“I can’t even put into words how proud I am of this group,” head coach Rob Reinstetle said. “To win the series against a really good CMU team is awesome. To beat them you have to pitch, play defense, and get timely hitting. We did all three today. RJ Shunck gave us a really good start and Cal McAninch was simply magical in his five innings in relief. The offense made the most of the opportunities we had and scored enough to win the game. There is no question this season hasn’t gone as we had planned, but there has been a lot of good to come out of this season too. The biggest thing for this program is to finish strong down the stretch. There is so much to play to for in these last four games.”
Senior Mason Sykes delivered the bulk of the offensive production on Sunday, driving in three of Toledo’s five runs. Junior Jeron Williams went 1-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored, and a stolen base to bring his season total to 48 thefts. Williams, the nation’s leading base stealer, is now just two stolen bases away from tying the MAC’s single-season stolen base record of 50, set in 1988 by Central Michigan’s Larry Lamphere.
Toledo hosts Purdue Fort Wayne on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season with a three-game series vs. Bowling Green.
How it Happened
- RJ Shunck started the game on a high note, striking out the side in the top of the first.
- The Rockets grabbed the first lead of the game in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of two CMU errors to take a 3-0 lead. Mason Sykes’ two-run double provided the bulk of the offense in the third inning.
- Central Michigan found the scoreboard in the top of the fifth, plating two runs on a two-out double to make it 3-2.
- Sykes added another run in the bottom of the fifth, making the score 4-2 with a sac fly.
- Jeron Williams scored easily on a 6-3 double play in the bottom of the seventh to increase the lead to 5-2.
- After allowing a two inherited CMU runs to score when he entered the game in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and no outs, McAninch blanked the Chippewas the rest of the way. The lone Central Michigan threat came in the form of two ninth-inning singles, but McAninch induced two harmless fly balls to end the game and clinch the victory.
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