Broncos Sweep Series Against Bowling Green
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio. – Western Michigan opened up the first game of the doubleheader scoring four runs in the first inning to help boost starting pitcher Steve Laudicina to his first win of the season.
Laudicina tossed six and one thirds innings, allowing three runs on ten hits, striking out six.
Second baseman Theo Piccirilli was hit in the back to lead off the game for the Broncos. Vinnie Booker, who started in left field, bunted Piccirilli to second on a sacrifice attempt. Western Michigan’s shortstop, Andrew Sohn, singled through the left side and stole second base, putting runners on second and third. Jared Kujawa drew a walk to load the bases for Steve Buglione, who laced the first pitch he saw to left field for the Broncos’ first run. Patrick Duncan then drove a fastball to right field to score Sohn. WMU took a three run lead when first baseman Hunter Prince drew a bases loaded walk, bringing in Kujawa. Bowling Green’s pitcher, Mike Frank, faced all nine batters in the Bronco lineup in the first. Western Michigan scored four runs in the first on three hits and two walks.
Bowling Green added three hits in the bottom of the first, plating one run on a sacrifice fly to left field.
After putting up three hits in the first inning, the Broncos didn’t add the fourth hit until the seventh inning when Piccirilli drilled a double down the left field line.
The Falcons battled back in the seventh inning, loading the bases with one out. BGSU collected a pair of hits off of Monty Porter, who entered in relief of Laudicina, and cut the score to 4-3. Gabe Berman was called in with bases loaded and was able to get the first hitter he faced to popup to second and finished the inning with a huge strikeout to get the Broncos out of a jam.
Berman tossed two and two thirds innings without allowing a hit and striking out two batters, earning his first save of the season.
In game two, Patrick Borlik (2-1) took the mound for the Broncos, facing off against BGSU’s Trevor Blaylock (0-4).
BGSU got on the board early, scoring two runs on three hits in the first. After the leadoff hitter singled up the middle, the Falcons added an RBI double to the right center gap followed by an RBI single to center field.
Western Michigan fought back when Prince led off the third inning with a single to right field. Brett Sunde reached base on a throwing error by the third baseman, putting runners on first and second. Piccirilli showed good patience at the plate and drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Booker grounded to third base and the ball rolled under the glove of the third baseman, scoring a run. Sohn then added a two run single to right field. WMU scored three runs on two hits to take the lead.
The Broncos added another run in the top of the fifth when Booker reached on a bunt single. Buglione laced a pitch to right field for a single, scoring Booker. WMU put a hit-and-run on and Duncan ripped a pitch into right field with Buglione advancing to third.
In the eighth inning Dan Schutes, who entered the game as a pinch hitter for Caton, knocked a pitch into center field just out of the reach of a diving center fielder, for his first hit of the season.
Bowling Green threatened in the bottom of the ninth, putting runners on first and third with one out due to a couple throwing errors by the Broncos. Pat Haynes came in to relieve Borlik in the ninth. With runners on the corners, Haynes picked off the runner at first but it allowed the runner at third to score, to make it 4-3. The Falcons would fall short to the Broncos by the same score, giving WMU the series sweep.
Borlik managed eight and a third innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. Borlik improves to 2-1 on the season. Haynes picks up his second save of the season.
"It is difficult to sweep, especially on the road, so it goes without saying what a big weekend it was for us," said WMU head coach Billy Gernon.
"We pitched well, executed well and played 26 consecutive innings without an error. Borlik filled the zone today, issuing only one walk in game two. Berman was really specially today too, closing out game one for Laudicina who gave us a quality start. It was a great weekend for Bronco baseball".
The Broncos opened up conference play with a three game sweep of the Falcons bringing the teams overall record to 7-15. Western Michigan is scheduled to play again on Wednesday, March 27, against the University of Michigan. The game will be played in Ann Arbor at 3:00 p.m.