Baseball Upsets No. 7 Louisville On the Road, 4-2
The Broncos (1-5) scored a run in the first inning and added three more in the third before holding off several challenges from the Cardinals. It was the first home loss of the season for Louisville (5-2), who was tabbed as the American Athletic Conference preseason favorite after posting a school record 51 wins last year, advancing to the College World Series.
‘This was clearly a signature win for our program as well as a total team effort,” said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. “Louisville has been a powerhouse program since Dan McDonnell took over in 2006. U of L went to the College World Series in 2007 and 2013 and for us to secure a convincing 4-2 victory over the No. 7 team in the nation in their back yard is huge for our club.
“Our guys deserved this win and it should boost our confidence even more. Freshman Keegan Akin and sophomore Gabe Berman were outstanding for us today on the mound. Andrew Sohn had a great game collecting three hits but more importantly, I saw Andrew leading our team with a vicious tenacity. The more he gives us the better we will be as he is highly respected, well liked and a very special talent. Our guys fought for one another today, it was special to watch.”
In his first collegiate start, Akin threw four innings and scattered seven hits, striking out four and walking two. He allowed two runs, only one of which was earned. Berman (1-0) hurled five shutout innings to close the game and earn his first victory of the season. He fanned a career-high six batters and allowed just one hit and one walk.
Sohn had three of Western Michigan’s eight hits, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. He also swiped his team-leading fifth base of the season. Steve Buglione collected two hits, while Theo Piccirilli, Jared Kujawa and Kurt Hoekstra had one each. Piccirilli and Brett Sunde each had an RBI.
In the first inning, WMU's Grant Miller was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single up the middle by Piccirilli.
WMU loaded the bases with one out in the third on a hit batsman, a walk and a single by Sohn. A groundout by Sunde drove in WMU’s first run and a throwing error by the Louisville second baseman allowed the other two to come across.
Akin retired the first five batters he faced and kept Louisville off the board until the fourth, when the Cardinals broke through for their first run. Louisville scored again in the fifth when Akin issued a bases-loaded walk. Berman was summoned to the mound with no outs and the bags still full. He sat down the next two batters with back-to-back strikeouts and ended the inning with a groundout.
Berman put away 14 of the 16 batters he faced. He gave up a leadoff walk in the seventh, but Sunde gunned down the runner from behind the plate on an attempted steal. The only hit Berman allowed was a single through the right side in the eighth.
Western Michigan heads south later this week to participate in the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Broncos will play eight games at the classic between Feb. 28 and March 8 and will make a stop in Lakeland on March 5 to play the Detroit Tigers Prospects at Joker Marchant Stadium.