Broncos Score Eight in the Ninth, Fall 13-10 to Notre Dame
WMU (15-36) was the first to reach the scoreboard in the contest, tallying a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Notre Dame (30-21) got a run back in the third and broke the game open with seven runs in the fourth. A two-run homer by Ryan Bull helped fuel a three-run sixth for the Irish and another two-run shot, this one to Trey Mancini in the eighth helped ND extend its lead to 13-2.
The game looked like it was all but in the books until Western Michigan erupted for eight runs on seven hits in the bottom of the ninth, putting 12 batters to the plate. The Broncos had the tying run on deck when the game ended.
WMU’s Theo Piccirilli and Andrew Sohn (double) both had three hits, going 3-for-5. Vinnie Booker, Piccirilli, Jared Kujawa, Brandon Cable (double) and Kurt Hoeskstra each had an RBI hit in the ninth inning. Dan Shutes scored two with a single to right center and Brett Sunde drove a run across with a sac fly.
Kujawa also had an RBI in the first with a sac fly and Patrick Duncan drove in WMU’s second run of the game with a single up the middle.
ND was a little unconventional offensively in its big seven-run fourth and ended WMU’s starter Will Nimke’s day after three and one thirds. After Mancini got his team started with a leadoff double the Irish went on to bunt four times in the next five plate appearances. Notre Dame had six hits in the inning.
WMU reliever David Brennan allowed three runs in the sixth, including the homer to Bull. Nick Bradley came out of the bullpen in the sixth to throw an inning and a third before being replaced by Matt Nestor, who gave up the long ball to Mancini in the eighth. Patrick Borlik closed out the game, hurling two scoreless innings.
Nimke (2-6) took the loss on the mound. In a scheduled staff day, Notre Dame freshman Connor Hale (1-0) picked up the win in his first career start.
It was the final non-conference contest for the Broncos, who close out the 2013 season with a three-game series against rival Central Michigan Thursday, May 16 through Saturday, May 18.
Western Michigan dedicated the Brett Freed Players’ Lounge at the stadium prior to the game. Freed was baseball player from the area that was left quadriplegic from a car accident while still in high school. He later died unexpectedly at the age of 35. Freed’s family made a generous donation in his honor to renovate the lounge.
It was Notre Dame’s first trip to Western Michigan since April 19, 1988.