MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Bookend pins from Drew Hildebrandt and Matt Stencel keyed a 24-15 Mid-American Conference dual-meet win for the Central Michigan wrestling team over Buffalo on Friday at McGuirk Arena.
It was the fourth straight win for the Chippewas, who improved to 6-4, 6-2 MAC. Buffalo is 7-9, 3-5.
The Chippewas entertain Kent State, 6-10, 2-5, in a MAC dual on Sunday (2 p.m.) at McGuirk.
Both pins from Hildebrandt and Stencel came in the first period. Hildebrandt's win at 125 pounds gave the Chippewas a 6-0 lead, and Stencel's (285) clinched the dual.
"The thing that sparks us, it's been the same thing all year, with Hildebrandt starting us off with a pin and we always know Matt's a pinner on the back end so we're pretty confident," CMU coach Tom Borrelli said. "Even as the other team builds momentum, we feel like we can shut the door pretty good."
It was the 13th pin of the season for Stencel and the seventh for Hildebrandt. Both are ranked No. 1 in the MAC and both have won seven-consecutive matches. Stencel is ranked fourth nationally and he entered Friday's dual tied for third in the nation in pins.
On a Roll
Hildebrandt, who is ranked ninth nationally, upped his dual-meet record to 10-0 including 8-0 in the MAC. Four of his last five wins have come via pins. He leads the Chippewas with 26 wins against just three losses.
"He can still get better, you can always get a little bit better," Borrelli said, adding that Hildebrandt's junior-season surge is due at least in part to two major factors: The confidence that he gained by qualifying for the NCAA Championships last season, and the addition of volunteer assistant coach Tim Lambert, a Michigan native who was a four-time NCAA qualifier while wrestling at Nebraska from 2014-17.
"Last year (Hildebrandt) competed in the national tournament for the first time and he got a taste of that and I think he realized that he can compete with the best people in the country and he's just built on that all year," Borrelli said. "Tim Lambert's helped him tremendously and our other lightweights; he's helped Dresden (Simon) a lot too. You've got to give the credit to the athletes first, but then our assistant coaches are doing a really good job."
CMU redshirt sophomore Jake Lowell posted a tough 6-4 decision at 174 pounds, putting the Chippewas back in front, 15-12. It was the second-consecutive win for Lowell, who is 5-13. He posted his first career dual-meet win on Sunday at Cleveland State.
"Confidence is huge in this sport," Borrelli said. "I think the win at Cleveland State helped him a lot, a whole lot, and the win tonight, he can build on that too. It doesn't matter what your record is, it's how you feel and how you're competing and the way you're preparing and he's doing the right things."
Buffalo re-tied the meet, 15-15, with a decision win at 184. CMU's Landon Pelham then posted a 4-2 victory at 197 to put the Chippewas up, 18-15. Stencel followed with his pin to close the meet.
The Chippewas won six of the 10 matches. They got an 8-7 win from Dresden Simon at 141 and a 4-2 victory from Logan Parks at 157. Simon, who is ranked 15th nationally, trailed 7-5 in the third period and then got an escape and then a takedown with 19 seconds remaining.
Borrelli inserted three unfamiliar faces in the lineup: Brock Bergelin (133), Mason Breece (141) and Blake Montrie (165). Bergelin, a redshirt sophomore, battled 20th-ranked Derek Spann before succumbing, 4-0; Breece, a redshirt freshman who wrestled - and won - his first match in a dual last weekend at Cleveland State, also wrestled well before falling, 5-3.
"We wanted to give those guys an opportunity and just give some of our guys that have been grinding through the season a little bit of a break," Borrelli said.
Sunday's meet with Kent State is the Chippewas' last MAC dual of the season. They entertain Michigan State in a nonleaguer on Friday, Feb. 21. The MAC Championships are March 7-8 at Northern Illinois.
"I think we're getting better," Borrelli said. "We're gaining confidence in ourselves. We always have setbacks, we always have things that we feel like we've got to improve on. This is our fourth dual-meet win in a row, hopefully we can make it five and then get ready for Michigan State.
"I think we're building. We feel like we're pretty capable in five weight classes. We have five other weight classes where we've got to improve. There's very little margin of error for us. If one of our guys that we're really counting on doesn't do well, somebody's got to pick us up. Tonight that was Jake Lowell."
125: Drew Hildebrandt (C) pinned Jordan Reyes, 2:24
133: Derek Spann (B) dec. Brock Bergelin, 4-0
141: Dresden Simon (C) dec. Marcus Robinson, 8-7
149: John Arceri (B) dec. Mason Breece, 5-3
157: Logan Parks (C) dec. Michael Petite, 4-2
165: Troy Keller (B) pinned Blake Montrie, 6:56
174: Jake Lowell (C) dec. Bryson Alsteen, 6-4
184: Pete Acciardi (B) dec. Ben Cushman, 7-5
197: Landon Pelham (C) dec. Sam Schuyler, 4-2
285: Matt Stencel (C) pinned Logan Rill, 46 seconds