Broncos Unable To Hold Lead in 5-3 Loss to St. Bonaventure
WINTER HAVEN, Fla.- Western Michigan got a worthy starting effort from left-handed sophomore Steve Laudicina, but the Bronco bullpen couldn't hold on a 3-0 lead headed into the seventh, falling 5-3 to St. Bonaventure Saturday.
"We got a quality start from Laudicina but our bullpen struggled to hold the line," Bronco head coach Billy Gernon said. "The story today was that we did a good job of getting the lead, but absolutely underachieved at expanding the lead."
The Broncos scored two runs in the third and one in the sixth, but allowed SBU to take the lead with four runs in the seventh. The Bonnies tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth.
Laudicina scattered three hits over 5.2 scoreless innings. After issuing a walk to start off the day, he retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced. He rang up three strikeouts and walked just one more.
Right-handed sophomore Monty Porter replaced Laudicina and recorded the final out of the sixth, but then struggled when he took the mound in the seventh, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a base hit.
Freshman Nick Bradley relieved Porter, but couldn't hold the runners, allowing a two-run double and a two-run single. Will Nimke had to step on for Bradley to record the final out in the seventh. Porter was charged with three earned runs in the inning, with Bradley taking the other.
Nimke remained on the mound the rest of the game, surrendering the run in the ninth, unearned. WMU committed two of its three fielding errors in the ninth. Bradley (0-1) took the loss.
All three of Western Michigan's runs were unearned as SBU committed two errors in the second and one in the sixth. Catching his first collegiate game, Caleb Caton scored WMU's first run in the second after hitting a leadoff single. Jack Scanlon drove in the second run with an RBI single through the right side. Ryan McMillin scored in the sixth after being hit by a pitch.
Western Michigan had just four hits in the game, but stranded nine runners on base. The Bonnies totaled six hits and left 10 runners behind.
"Runners left on base and, more importantly left in scoring position, limited our success in 2011. It is time for a few guys to forget last season and step up and deliver us a big hit," Gernon added.
"When you have an opportunity to put someone away at this level, it is a must that you capitalize on that opportunity.
"Caton did a solid job in his first start behind the plate. We have to remain strong up the middle."
Western Michigan (1-4) and St. Bonavenuture (1-1) conclude their three-game series tomorrow, with an 11 a.m. first pitch.