Central Michigan’s second win-or-go-home game in as many days will extend the Chippewas' stay in South Bend, Indiana, for a few more hours, at least.
The Chips' 14-8 victory over Connecticut kept them in the NCAA baseball tournament and set up the first of two potential regional final contests against their first opponent in the regional, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The Chips and Huskies decided that this elimination game would be perfect for a slugfest, each scattering crooked numbers across the scoreboard. CMU and UConn combined for eight home runs at Frank Eck Stadium, with each team launching four apiece.
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CMU infielders Zach Heeke and Adian Shepardson combined to drive in seven runs, including a two-run homer by Heeke in the top of the fourth. That inning also featured a blast by Garrett Navarra, who was doing double duty: he also picked up the victory as the starting pitcher.
Navarra went five innings, striking out two and giving up five runs over a 90-pitch span.
The Chips looked to be in cruise control until UConn’s Reggie Crawford hit a three run homer in the top of the seventh to make it a one-run CMU lead at 9-8. CMU responded, though, with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Crawford homered again in the ninth but that was it for UConn in the final few innings.
CMU faces Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Sunday on ACC Network. If the Chips win, they'll face the Irish again at 1 p.m. Monday.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: CMU baseball outslugs Connecticut, 14-9, to stay in NCAA tournament