Broncos Drop 10-Inning Affair at Evansville
Western Michigan (6-9) held a five-run lead at two different points in the game. The Broncos posted three runs in the first and scored two more in the second. Evansville responded with four runs in the bottom of the second to keep within striking distance. Both sides plated a run in the fourth, keeping WMU on top, 6-5.
The Broncos began to stretch out its lead again, scoring a run in the sixth and seventh, and then tacked on two more in the eighth to go up, 10-5. All five runs by Evansville in the bottom of the ninth were unearned. WMU used three different pitchers in the bottom of the ninth while offensively, the Broncos went down in order in the top of the 10th.
Chris Bossenbery retired the first batter he faced in the bottom of the 10th with a groundout and then issued a walk to Jason Hockemeyer. Bossenbery then recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but Kevin Kaczmarski kept Evansville's hopes alive with a single up the middle. Bossenbery intentionally walked Chris Pearson to put the force on all bases. Andy Lasher battled Bossenbery off for a bases-loaded walk to score the winning run and complete Evansville's comeback.
"Tonight was a very disappointing loss, to say the least," said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. "To have a five-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth and lose is painful.
"Jordan Tillman made one of the greatest catches I have ever seen diving in the gap allowing us to double up a runner at first base to send the game into extra innings.
"Evansville got it rolling and we had a critical error, and they capitalized. We continue to improve offensively and there was a lot of bright spots that were tarnished in a tough loss. All I care about is how we respond tomorrow and what types of energy shows up at the park."
Western Michigan had 13 hits in the game. Ryan McMillin and Vinnie Booker both went 3-for-5 at the plate. McMillin also drove in three runs. Booker had a pair of doubles, two stolen bases and scored three runs. Jared Kujawa and Troy Forton had two RBIs apiece, both scoring runners in the first and eighth innings.
Senior LHP Casey Webber started on the mound for WMU and went five innings, allowing five runs (two earned) and four hits. He walked six and struck out one. Relievers Monty Porter and Pat Borlik held UE scoreless headed into the ninth. David Brennan, Matt Nestor and Bossnebery each threw in the ninth. Bossenbery (1-2) took the loss, surrendering the winning run in the 10th.
WMU and Evansville (12-6) return to Braun Stadium tomorrow for game two of the series. First pitch is at 3 p.m. ET.