Broncos And Tigers Mini Camp Team Play to 2-2 Tie
LAKELAND, Fla.- The Western Michigan baseball team and the spring training mini-elite Detroit Tigers team played to a nine inning, 2-2 tie Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The contest was considered an exhibition, and no official statistics were taken. Wooden bats were used by both sides. Chair of the WMU Board of Trustees, Dennis Archer, and University President, Dr. John M. Dunn threw out ceremonial first pitches.
"We are continuing to make positive steps as a team, and I think we did a good job holding our own today, against some very, very, good professional players. Today will be very memorable for our team," said WMU head coach Billy Gernon.
The Broncos had no reservations against their minor league counterparts and took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Jack Scanlon drew a two-out walk and Ryan McMillin torched the left fielder with an RBI double, scoring Scanlon from first.
The Tigers team pulled even with a run in the third, scoring off a single and an RBI double.
Freshman Jared Kujawa put WMU back on top in the sixth, driving in Scanlon from third with a hard ground ball to second base.
The Tigers again tied the game in the bottom of the eighth and the two settled for a push after nine innings were played.
Seven different Bronco pitchers saw time on the hill and the staff allowed just seven hits combined and struck out four. A number of Detroit prospects also toed the rubber, holding WMU to four hits.
Among some of the bigger names WMU went up against was RHP Luke Putkonen, a third round draft pick in 2007, and Bruce Rondon, a hard throwing right-hander who was clocked at 99 mph in the ninth.
"This was a great experience, and once again we are thankful to Dave Dombrowksi and the entire Detroit Tigers organization for helping make this possible," Gernon stated.
"It was great to have Dennis Archer and President Dunn on hand to throw out the first pitch, as well as see so many Western Michigan alumni and supporters in the stands today."
Western Michigan gets back to the business of collegiate ball tomorrow, taking on Maine at 2 p.m. The Broncos face Penn Thursday, North Dakota State Friday and conclude their trip with two games on Saturday, playing Bradley and Illinois State.