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Patrick Borlik has been the final pitcher on the mound in four games during the Broncos' five-game winning streak.
Courtesy: Kevin Shrock, WMU Athletics

Broncos Defeat Buffalo in 12 Innings, 2-0

Courtesy: Kristin Keirns, associate director of athletic media relations
Release: 03/30/2012
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BUFFALO, N.Y.- Western Michigan won its fifth straight and second extra-inning game in a row, defeating Buffalo, 2-0, in 12 innings Friday, spoiling the Bulls' home-opener.

WMU upped its overall record to 12-10 and remains unbeaten in league play, winning its first four Mid-American Conference games, having swept Bowling Green at home last weekend. It is the first time WMU has started MAC play 4-0 since 2005.

Troy Forton drove in both Bronco runs in the top of the 12th, smoking a one-out, bases-loaded single down the left field line. Jared Kujawa and Ryan McMillin scored after reaching on consecutive singles. With Kujawa and McMillin on, Patrick Duncan drew a walk that loaded the bases for Forton.

Western Michigan left-handed starter Casey Webber and Buffalo right-hander Cameron Copping set the tone for the pitchers' dual leading up to the 12th. Webber struck out the side in the top of the first, and would go on to total a season-high nine strikeouts, one shy of his career high.

Copping got stronger as the innings wore on, retiring 17-straight Broncos after allowing a single with one out in the fourth. WMU would not have another base runner until the top of the 10th, when Kujawa singled to right center. Copping only gave up three hits and one walk in the game. After hurling 10 scoreless innings, Copping finally gave way to RHP Kevin Crumb in the top of the 11th.

Webber would make it through seven complete innings, scattering seven hits and walking just one himself. The crafty southpaw also caught a pair of base runners leaning at first, while Kujawa picked off a third runner from behind the plate.

RHP Monty Porter was the first out of the Bronco bullpen, working 3.1 innings and totaling four strikeouts. He sat UB down in order in the eighth, as well as 10th, and stranded two runners in the ninth.

RHP Patrick Borlik inherited one on with one out in the bottom of the 11th, then issued an intentional walk to Michael Scarcello. Pinch hitter Thomas Richards worked a walk to load the bases, but Borlik got the No. 9 hitter Jason Kanzler to fly out to right field to leave the bags full.

Matt Pollock hit a leadoff single for UB in the bottom of the 12th, and Borlik got the next three batters to ground out for the 2-0 win, improving his record to 4-2 on the season.

Borlik has been the final pitcher on the mound in four games during the Broncos' five-game winning streak, recording three wins and a save during that stretch.

"Webber was stellar and Porter and Borlik were remarkable in relief," said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. "We did a good job grinding out the mental challenges that the elements presented with cold temperatures and the wind blowing in.

"Our competitive character and will to win was very evident today, as it was a very difficult game to win."

Buffalo left 13 men on base in the game, including seven runners in scoring position.

Kujawa had half of WMU's six hits, going 3-for-5 with a run scored.

Tomorrow's game two of the series has been bumped back from its original start time of 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., due to snow/rain expected to move through the area overnight and into the morning.

GAME NOTES: This was the first meeting between WMU and UB since the 2009 season ... Casey Webber has 25 career pickoffs ... his nine K's were a team-season high ... Ryan McMillin (1-for-5) extended his current hitting streak to 16 games ... McMillin (21 games) and Vinnie Booker (19 games) also extended their current on-base streaks.