Nimke's Complete Game Leads WMU Past Notre Dame, 5-4
SOUTH BEND, Ind.- Freshman RHP Will Nimke hurled a complete game and the Broncos snapped a five-game skid with a 5-4 win at Notre Dame Wednesday.
In his sixth career start, Nimke (2-1) went the distance, tossing nine innings and striking out seven. Only three of the four runs were earned and the Fighting Irish were contained to eight hits.
Nimke is the first Bronco freshman to throw a complete game since Ethan Hollingsworth in 2006.
"Nimke was spectacular," said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. "We needed a big lift and he gave it to us. It's nice to be back to .500 again and end a five-game losing streak against such a quality opponent."
Notre Dame (17-15) tallied a run in each of the first two innings to take a 2-0 lead, but Western Michigan scored three in the top of the third.
The Irish evened the count in the bottom of the fourth and the two teams traded runs in the fifth, making for a 4-4 tie. Freshman Jared Kujawa scored the eventual game-winning run in the top of the seventh with his first career home run, and WMU rode Nimke's stellar performance to victory.
After allowing a leadoff double in the fifth, Nimke gave up just one more base hit the rest of the game, and he sat down the Irish in order in the seventh and ninth. He put an exclamation point on the victory, recording the final two outs with swinging strikeouts. He threw a total of 115 pitches in the game, 82 for strikes.
It was the first home loss of the season for Notre Dame, ending a nine-game winning streak at Frank Eck Stadium.
The second pitcher out of the Irish bullpen, Sean Fitzgerald (2-3) took the loss for ND, throwing 2.2 innings and giving up the solo shot to Kujawa.
Kujawa went 2-for-4 in the game, also driving in a run in the third with a double to right field. Senior third baseman Ryan McMillin followed Kujawa with his own RBI double in the third and Patrick Duncan plated the Broncos' third run of the inning, singling to the left side.
Duncan and freshman Andrew Sohn joined Kujawa with two hits in the game. McMillin extended his current hitting streak to 24 games, one shy of Chris Lewis' school record of 25.
Western Michigan (15-15, 5-3 MAC) heads to Toledo this weekend for a three-game Mid-American Conference series, April 13-15.
GAME NOTES: Nimke's complete game was the second by a Bronco pitcher this year, senior LHP Casey Webber tossed a complete game in an 11-4 win over Penn on March 8 ... Nimke's previous career highs were 6.1 IP and four strikeouts vs. Bowling Green on March 25 ... McMillin has reached base safely in every game but the season-opener ... the all-time series between WMU and ND stands at 67-65-1, ND leading, and the two schools have split the last four meetings.