Western Michigan Baseball Falls in Game Two at Memphis, 4-2
The Broncos took a 1-0 lead in the second after a hit by pitch and three straight walks. An overturned call in the inning would be a huge momentum changer in the game. With no one out and bases loaded, senior Vinnie Booker blasted a pitch down the left line for what initially was signaled as a grand slam, and would have given the Broncos a 5-0 lead. After an umpires discussion, the home run was waved off and called a foul ball. The inning then quickly ended as the runner at third was picked off, Booker was called for a third strike and Theo Piccirilli flew out to center field.
The Tigers evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the second. Carter White drew a one-out walk and scored after back-to-back singles. A walk, a single and a throwing error in the fourth proved costly for WMU and allowed Memphis to take a 2-1 lead.
The U of M added two more runs in the fifth to put more distance between Western Michigan. Leadoff man Zach Willis doubled off the wall in right-center and moved to third on a single to right by Jake Little. Little stole second to give Memphis two runners in scoring position with one out. Back-to-back singles by White and Kane Barrow pushed both runs across.
Western Michigan responded with a tally in the seventh, but couldn’t put anymore runs on the scoreboard. Piccirilli hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on a single to first by Jared Kujawa. Piccirilli later scored on a fielder’s choice by Brett Sunde.
In his first appearance in a Bronco uniform, Kellogg Community College transfer Chad Mayle took the loss after getting the start. The junior right-hander went three innings and gave up two runs and four hits. He walked three and struck out one.
Sophomore RHP Kurt Hoekstra was first out of the Bronco bullpen, entering with two on and no outs in the fourth. Hoekstra lasted an inning and a third, giving up two runs and four hits. Sophomore LHP Derek Schneider finished out the game, holding the Tigers hitless over the final 3.2 innings.
“Derek Schneider was awesome today for us out of the pen and we are having much better at bats,” said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. “Someone has got to step up and drive in runs when those opportunities are presented.”
Both Western Michigan (0-2) and Memphis (2-0) had eight hits in the game. Piccirilli and Kujawa each went 2-for-5 with a double. Booker also had a double and Andrew Sohn went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks. Freshman Grant Miller made his first career start at third base.
Caleb Wallingford earned the win on the mound for Memphis after entering in the fourth. He pitched three scoreless innings and allowed four hits while striking out four. Closer Bryce Beeler worked the ninth and earned his second save of the series.
Western Michigan concludes the series at Memphis tomorrow. First pitch is at 1 p.m. ET. The Broncos then head to 2013 College World Series participant and top-15 ranked Louisville next weekend for a three-game series.