Broncos Split Sunday Doubleheader
SLYVANIA,Ohio -Western Michigan and Bowling Green played three games in two days after cancelling Friday’s game due to rainy conditions. WMU dropped game one of the series on Saturday, 3-1, but the Broncos captured game one of the twinbill on Sunday to split the day (6-2, 9-12).
WMU as a team, batted .260 against Bowling Green with Sophomore Brett Sunde having the hot hand over the weekend going 4-for-10 (.400) with four RBIs and one run scored. Junior Jared Kujawa was locked in as well going 5-for-11 (.455) with a .909 slugging percentage, three RBIs and blasting his first home run of the season.
As a unit the Bronco bullpen dominated BG hitters pitching seven innings total, allowing just three runs on eight hits and striking out five.
GAME ONE RECAP
Western Michigan rallied behind the stellar performance of Junior RHP Chad Mayle, who earned his third straight win in a 6-2 victory over Bowling Green in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader at Mercy Field. Mayle allowed just five hits over 6.2 innings, giving up just two runs.
The Falcons took the early lead in the top of the third when a line drive to left center scored the runner from second. That would be all for BGSU as the next batter flied out to left field to end the half inning. It took until the top of the seventh for BGSU to score again when a sacrifice fly to left scored the runner from third.
WMU would take control in the bottom of the third however, scoring four runs on two hits. Sophomore Hunter Prince provided the clutch at-bat when he lined a ball passed the second baseman scoring Jared Kujawa and Brett Sunde to give the Broncos the 4-1 lead. WMU has now outscored opponents 21-9 in the third inning this season.
Kujawa provided some offensive firepower in the fifth inning when he hit a solo home run that bounced off the scoreboard in right field. It was his first home run of the season and third of his career. WMU added one more in the bottom of the seventh when catcher Brett Sunde slapped a ball between the second baseman and right fielder, scoring Sohn from third.
Mayle dominated the Falcon hitters to pick up his fourth win of the season and third straight. He allowed just five hits and two runs over 6.2 innings of work. Sophomore RHP Gabe Berman provided some spark out of the bullpen and earned his fifth save as he worked 2.1 of hitless and scoreless innings, striking out two.
The Broncos collected eight hits to Bowling Green’s five as six different players had hits for WMU. Kujawa was hot at the plate going 2-for-3 with a solo home run. Both Prince and Sunde had two-RBI games. The 1-5 hitters for WMU shined in game one going 6-for-16 (.375) with five RBIs, four runs scored and a home run.
GAME TWO RECAP
In game two of Sunday’s doubleheader, Western Michigan scored nine runs over the final six innings but couldn’t surge past the Falcons in a 12-9 defeat at Mercy Field. Catcher Brett Sunde had a monstrous day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Trailing 6-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Broncos turned the momentum around when junior Jared Kujawa sent a ball back up the middle, scoring second baseman Kurt Hoekstra from third and helping the Broncos get on the board. WMU would grab two more in the bottom of the fifth when Sunde earned both of his RBIs on one swing of the bat, lining a shot to left center scoring both Steve Buglione and Dan Shutes.
This would narrow the gap to 8-3, after BG scored two in the top half of the fifth inning. Bowling Green would add four more runs in the sixth inning to pad its lead at 12-3.
The Bronco bats came alive in the later innings, scoring six runs over the final three innings to almost complete the comeback. After scoring a run in the seventh, Kujawa led off the eighth inning with a triple, his sixth of the season to give WMU much needed momentum. Sophomore Hunter Prince hit a long sacrifice fly to center field to score Kujawa from third.
After freshman Beau Filkins and Buglione got on base, Shutes shot a ball back up the middle scoring Filkins and with the very next pitch freshman Nick Vogelmeier brought around Buglione for his fourth RBI of the season. Shutes would then slide across home plate after a wild pitch to narrow the deficit to just four.
WMU scored one more run in the bottom of the ninth as senior Theo Piccirilli slapped a ball that just got by the glove of the second baseman scoring sophomore Caleb Caton from third. With the tying run on deck, Buglione hit a hard ball back up the middle that was grabbed by the shortstop on a diving play to end WMU’s comeback efforts.
Sunde went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, matching his performance in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Kujawa went 2-for-5 with one RBI and collected his Mid-American Conference-leading sixth triple of the season.
Freshman LHP Keegan Akin went five innings, giving up eight runs on eight hits and striking out five in the loss. After the first two innings, Akin went on to retire seven straight batters including three strikeouts. The Broncos had strong relief pitching from RHP Pat Haynes, RHP Monty Porter, LHP Derek Schneider and RHP Nick Bradley, who combined went four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.
The Broncos will be back in action on Wednesday against Big Ten rival Michigan State in East Lansing beginning at 3 p.m. WMU will then be back to MAC play next week, Apr. 11-13, against the Buffalo Bulls.