Western Michigan Takes Care of Business Against Valpo, Earns 5-4 Win
Freshman catcher Caleb Caton drove in the winning run for the Broncos in the bottom of the ninth, with a one-out double to right center.
Six of the seven victories during WMU's streak have been by two runs or less.
Right-handed sophomore Patrick Borlik earned the win on the mound, throwing the final 1.2 innings, and improved his record to 5-2 on the year.
Sophomore RHP Monty Porter threw 2.1 innings of hitless relief, and left-handed starter Mike Moyer tossed five innings, yielding three runs and eight hits. Moyer fanned seven batters for the second-straight start, tying his career-high for strikeouts.
Valpo's John Loeffler singled home Tanner Vavra to give the visiting team a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Moyer avoided further damage, ending the inning with a swinging strikeout and stranding three runners on base.
Western Michigan scored three times in the bottom of the second. McMillin got WMU on the board with his fourth home run of the season, going deep to center field. Singles by Duncan and Troy Forton, followed by a walk by Caton, loaded the bags for the Broncos. Dan Shutes drove in Duncan with a fielder's choice and Forton went on to score on a wild pitch.
Valparaiso strung together four singles, scoring a second run in the third. Facing a bases-loaded situation with one out, Moyer again worked his magic to leave all three behind, recording another swinging strikeout and fly out.
A leadoff double by Grant Yoder helped the Crusaders knot the score at 3-3 in the top of the sixth.
Duncan started off the Bronco at bat in the seventh with a double, but would later be picked off at third. WMU rebounded from the mistake, and was able to generate an unearned run to take a 4-3 lead. Caton drew a two-out walk, Shutes singled and Caton scored as Jordan Tillman reached on a wild throw by the third baseman.
Valpo hung in to tie the game again in the top of the ninth, as Will Hagel hit a two-out single to score Chris Manning from second.
Duncan smoked a single to third to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and moved to second on a sac bunt by Forton. Caton drove a 2-1 offering from Valpo reliever Kevin Upp to the gap in right center to push Duncan across and seal the 5-4 win.
RHP Will Robinson started on the mound for Valparaiso, working 6.2 innings and allowing four runs. Upp suffered the loss, throwing the final 1.2 innings.
Both teams totaled nine hits and Valpo (8-18) had the only error in the game. WMU lost five base runners, as the team was caught stealing four times, in addition to the pickoff.
Western Michigan travels to Rochester, Mich., tomorrow for a 3 p.m. matchup against Oakland. The Broncos defeated the Golden Grizzlies in 10 innings a week ago in Kalamazoo, 3-2. WMU returns to Mid-American Conference play this weekend, hosting Eastern Michigan, April 6-8.
GAME NOTES: WMU's victory snapped a four-game losing streak against Valparaiso ... the Broncos' seven-game winning streak is the longest since the 2005 team won nine-straight games ... Patrick Borlik has been the final pitcher in six of seven games of the winning streak, recording four wins and two saves ... Ryan McMillin extended his hitting streak to 18 games and has reached base in every game but the season opener ... sophomore OF Vinnie Booker (0-for-4) had a 21-game on-base streak come to an end.