Western Michigan Pulls Off Ninth-Inning Rally Against Toledo
TOLEDO, Ohio- Western Michigan scored four runs in the top of the ninth, capped by a two-run home run by Jack Scanlon, to overcome a three-run deficit and defeat Toledo 6-5 Saturday.
Trailing 5-2, pinch hitter Dan Shutes started the Bronco rally in the final frame, drawing a walk and Vinnie Booker followed with a double to left center. Jared Kujawa pushed Shutes across with a groundout and Andrew Sohn drove in Booker with a single down the right field line, pulling WMU within one, 5-4. With one on and one out, Scanlon blasted a ball out of the park for his first home run of the season, giving WMU the 6-5 lead.
Right-handed closer Patrick Borlik took the mound for the Broncos in the top of the ninth. He issued a walk with one out, but a 1-4-3 double play ended the game, giving Borlik his fourth save of the season.
The win snapped WMU's four-game conference losing streak, improving the Broncos' record to 16-16 overall and 6-4 in the Mid-American Conference. It also ended a seven-game skid against the Rockets, dating back to the 2010 season.
"We hit the ball hard all day, there was probably seven to eight line drives that were caught," said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. "We never quit and won in dramatic fashion. Scanlon's home run was electrifying."
Kujawa had three of Western Michigan's 10 hits and two RBIs, also driving in a run in the second.
The Broncos jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second on two hits and a Toledo fielding error. With two away and runners on first and second, Kujawa ripped an RBI single through the right side. The ball eluded UT's right fielder, allowing the second run to score as well.
Toledo (16-19, 5-6 MAC) got a run back in the bottom of the second and took the lead with three runs in the fourth. Mark Lapikas cracked a two-run double for the Rockets and Anthony Smith hit a two-run single.
Western Michigan threatened in the sixth, putting two runners in scoring position with one out, but the opportunity was lost with a strikeout and a fly out. Toledo added its fifth run in the eighth, setting the stage for WMU's comeback in the ninth.
The Broncos' third pitcher of the game, right-handed sophomore Monty Porter (1-1) earned the win out of the bullpen. He recorded the final out in the fourth with a pickoff at third base and went four more innings, allowing one run.
Senior third baseman Ryan McMillin (0-for-5) had a 25-game hitting streak come to an end. He shares the school record with Chris Lewis for consecutive games with a hit, tying the mark yesterday. It was also the first time in 30 games McMillin was unable to reach base.
"Ryan's 25-game hit streak was broken, but more importantly, so was our four-game conference skid. I am proud of our competitive character and proud of McMillin's accomplishment of a 25-game streak," commented Gernon.
Western Michigan and Toledo conclude the three-game series tomorrow with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. LHP Steve Laudicina will get the nod for WMU and RHP Mike Hamann is scheduled to start for Toledo.