Laudicina's Complete Game Leads WMU to 7-3 Victory
MUNCIE, Ind.- Senior left-handed pitcher Steve Laudicina threw his second complete game of the season and of his career, leading Western Michigan to a 7-3 win over Ball State to open this weekend's three-game road series.
Laudicina (3-4) tied a career-high with eight strikeouts and allowed just three hits and one earned run in arguably one of the best performances of his career. With the eight K's he moved into the top 10 all-time for career strikeouts at Western Michigan with 193. Laudicina already holds the school record for career innings pitched.
The crafty southpaw retired the side in six of nine innings, and sat down the final nine batters he faced in order. He only gave up one hit through the first six frames, a home run to T.J. Weir in the second inning.
The win snapped a six-game skid for WMU, which improved to 14-19 overall and 5-8 in the Mid-American Conference. The loss was the first in nine home games this season for the Cardinals, whose record fell to 25-13 and 9-3 in the conference.
Offensively, Western Michigan pounded out 16 hits, the most for the Broncos in a MAC game this season.
Sophomore catcher Brett Sunde had a team-high three hits, while six other Broncos had two hits apiece.
WMU led 4-1 after five innings, but Ball State scored three in the bottom sixth to pull within one, 4-3. The Broncos stormed back with three runs in the top of the eighth, scoring all three with two outs. Sunde and sophomore second baseman Kurt Hoekstra each drove in a run in the inning.
Hoekstra also drove in a run in the third with his team-leading sixth double of the season. Hoekstra finished with two hits and two RBIs.
Western Michigan has won nine of the last 11 meetings against Ball State.
The Broncos and Cardinals meet again tomorrow in game two at 1 p.m. and finish the series Sunday.