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Courtesy: Jamie Hines

Baseball Posts 6-4 Victory At Buffalo, Looks For Series Sweep Tomorrow

Courtesy: Kristin Keirns, associate director of athletic media relations
Release: 03/31/2012
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BUFFALO, N.Y.- Western Michigan improved to 5-0 in the Mid-American Conference and 13-10 overall with a 6-4 win at Buffalo Saturday. WMU and UB conclude the three-game series tomorrow at noon.

The Broncos' six-game winning streak matches a stretch of six wins last year during the month of May. The five-game MAC win streak is the most since the 2005 team started off conference play 9-0.

"We played solid baseball today behind a quality start from Steve Laudicina. Chris Bossenbery was electric and had great command in relief," stated WMU head coach Billy Gernon.

"The bunt was critical today and we did a good job of execution. Troy Forton delivered the two-out, two-run RBI triple in the seventh that paved the way for us."

Forton finished the day with three RBIs, going 2-for-4 at the plate. Patrick Duncan and Dan Shutes each drove in one run and Ryan McMillin batted 4-for-5.

Junior right-hander Chris Bossenbery (2-2) earned the win in relief, tossing three innings. He allowed one run and three hits, walking none and striking out two. Bossenbery inherited two runners with two outs in the sixth and left both stranded. Sophomore RHP Patrick Borlik picked up his third save of the year, recording the final out.

Both teams tallied a run in the first, and Western Michigan opened a 3-1 lead scoring a run in the third and fourth innings. The Bulls tied the game at 3-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Forton put WMU back in front with a two-run triple in the seventh. Each side added a run to their total in the ninth for the 6-4 final.

Jared Kujawa reached base with two outs in the first after being hit by a pitch. McMillin and Duncan followed with consecutive singles, Duncan's poke to center field scoring Kujawa.

Vinnie Booker led off the third with a base hit to right field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Thoma. Booker scored as Kujawa reached on a fielding error by the shortstop.

Duncan hit a leadoff single in the fourth, and Forton laid down a sac bunt to push him over to second. Duncan moved on to third after a single by Caleb Caton and crossed the dish on a fielder's choice by Shutes.

The game knotted 3-3, Thoma and McMillin got aboard in the seventh with a walk and a single, respectively. Forton plated both with his second triple of the season down the right field line.

Forton recorded his third RBI with a base hit in the top of the ninth, as Kujawa scored for the second time in the game. Kujawa and McMillin started off the inning with back-to-back singles.

Sophomore LHP Steve Laudicina gave WMU another quality start, going 5.2 innings. He surrendered three runs and seven hits, fanning two batters and walking three.

UB used a pair right-handers on the mound, Jeff Thompson (5.0 IP) and Anthony Magovney (4.0 IP). Both allowed three runs each, Magovney (1-1) taking the loss.

Buffalo (7-14, 1-4 MAC) entered the weekend leading the conference in batting average (.333), and ranking in the top three in the nation in fifth different offensive categories, including average and scoring (9.2 runs per game). The Broncos have held the Bulls to a .237 batting average and just four runs over the first two games of the series.

WMU has played the last two games without its day-to-day No. 3 hitter, as senior Jack Scanlon aggravated a hamstring injury early in game one. Shutes has manned right field in in Scanlon's absence.

"Tomorrow will present another mental challenge for our guys, I expect them to be ready," Gernon added.


GAME NOTES: This is the first series between WMU and UB since the 2009 season ... Ryan McMillin  extended his current hitting streak to 17 games, currently ties for fifth-longest in school history ... McMillin (22 games) and Vinnie Booker (20 games) also extended their current on-base streaks ... Patrick Borlik has been the final pitcher on the mound in five games during the Broncos' six-game winning streak, posting three wins and two saves.