Baseball Takes Wild Game One Over Ball State in Extra Innings, 12-11
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Western Michigan took game one against MAC West counterpart Ball State, 12-11, in a tight game turned into a mid-inning slugfest and a four-hour marathon. The two teams combined for 35 hits in the 11-inning affair.
The Broncos improved to 11-17 overall and 5-2 in conference play. Ball State, coached by Bronco alum Rich Maloney, fell to 12-14 and 2-5 in the MAC.
After giving up a run in the first, WMU took what seemed to be a comfortable seven-run advantage with eight runs on six hits in the fourth. The Cardinals had their own big inning in store however, and pounded out nine runs on eight hits to regain the lead in the sixth. WMU eventually tied the game at 11-11 with two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
The winning run came on a squeeze bunt in the bottom of the 11th. Leadoff batter Patrick Duncan got on with a bullet back up the middle and Brooks Beilke reached on an error, after laying down what was intended to be a sac bunt. The runners moved to second and third on a sac bunt by Theo Piccirilli. Vinnie Booker then stepped to the plate to put down a perfect squeeze and Duncan slide in easily for the victory.
Freshman right-hander Gabe Berman (1-0) earned his first collegiate victroy after being summoned out of the bullpen in the ninth. He held the Cardinals scoreless and to just one hit over 2.1 innings.
Berman entered for reliever Pat Haynes with two on and two out in the ninth. He walked a batter to load the bags but then left them full, ending the inning with a fly ball to center field.
WMU went down in order in the ninth and both teams left two runners on base in the 10th. Berman retired the first three batters he faced in the 11th.
Left-handed senior Mike Moyer started on the mound for WMU and went 5.0 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. The Broncos used six pitchers in the game.
Offensively, WMU totaled a team-season high 19 hits, all of which were singles, and seven players had multi-hit games. Booker went 4-for-6 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. Brett Sunde was 3-for-5 and Steve Buglione had a pair of hits, three RBIs and a stolen base.
Ball State had 16 hits, including a 4-for-6 effort by Sean Godfrey who also drove in three runs and scored twice. T.J. Weir threw the final three innings for the Cardinals and took the loss.
The two sides return to Robert J. Bobb Stadium for game two tomorrow at 1 p.m. and conclude the series with game three Sunday at 1 p.m.