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Tim Cross (second from left) celebrates after hitting a two-run home run in the 7th.
Courtesy: GS Photo

Broncos Hold Off Chippewas, Take Game One 6-5

Courtesy: Kristin Keirns, associate director of athletic media relations
Release: 05/13/2011
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KALAMAZOO, Mich.— Western Michigan scored three runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to take game one in this weekend’s three game-series against Central Michigan, 6-5. Trailing 5-3, Patrick Duncan hit a two-run single to tie the game and Dustin Ditsworth slapped a ball through the left side of the infield for the game-winning RBI. The win was the Broncos’ sixth in a row.

The game was nothing short of dramatic, setting the tone for the weekend, which is a pivotal series for both squads. Central Michigan entered the game as the MAC West leader and Western Michigan is aiming at making a return to the eight-team MAC Tournament after a two-year hiatus.

Bronco starter Brian Stroud made quick work of the Chips in the first and second, but ran into trouble in the third, walking two and giving up a single to load the bases. Jordan Dean hit a sacrifice fly to right field to give CMU a 1-0 lead. Another walk again had the bags full with two away and Sam Russell cracked a deep ball headed for the gap in right center. WMU junior right fielder Jack Scanlon gave chase and made a phenomenal diving catch to end the inning on what potentially would have been a bases-clearing hit.

CMU starter Trent Howard kept Western Michigan off the board through six innings, but the Broncos finally got to the lefty in the seventh. Ryan McMillin walked and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Following a pitching change, Duncan dropped a hit down the line in shallow right to tie the game at one-run apiece. In the next at bat, Cross stepped to the plate and unleashed a thunderous two-run shot out over the fence in left to put WMU in front, 3-1. It was his second home run of the season.

Stroud was switched out for Forton with one on and one down in the seventh. CMU scored the runner with a pair of singles and William Arnold hit a three-run blast off Forton to regain the lead for the Chippewas, 5-3.

Facing the two-run deficit, Jimmy Martinez led off the Bronco eighth with double, Forton was struck by a pitch with one out and Scanlon loaded the bases with a two-out walk. Duncan smoked a ball over the shortstop and into left field to score two and tie the game for a second time. Ditsworth provided the winning run with a single through the left side.

Eric Heckaman took the rubber for WMU in the top of the ninth and stranded two Chippewas on base for his eighth save of the season. Forton (3-1) was credited with the win, pitching two-thirds an inning and allowing three runs.

Stroud went 7.1 innings in the no decision, scattering seven hits and allowing two runs (one earned). He struck out three and walked five.

Mike Nixon (2-1) took the loss for Central Michigan, starting off the eighth and lasting two outs, giving way to Harvey Martin after issuing the walk to Scanlon.

Western Michigan (24-25, 11-11 MAC) and Central Michigan (26-23, 14-8 MAC) meet again tomorrow in game two at 1 p.m. WMU and Bronco Athletics will officially dedicate Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field before the game with a ceremony scheduled for noon.