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Senior LHP Steve Laudicina
Courtesy: WMU

Bronco Baseball Starts Off Snowbird Classic With 5-1 Win

Courtesy: Nathan Palcowski, Staff Writer
Release: 02/28/2014
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- Western Michigan (2-5) began play in its annual spring trip to Florida, downing St. Bonaventure, 5-1 at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte Friday. Senior LHP Steve Laudicina picked up the win, striking out four over 7.1 innings.

The victory was WMU’s second straight, as the Broncos were carrying the momentum of a 4-2 upset over No. 7 Louisville last Sunday.

WMU jumped out to the 1-0 lead in the third against St. Bonaventure, scoring off a two-out RBI triple by junior right fielder Jared Kujawa. Grant Miller led off the inning with a single up the middle and with two away Kujawa scorched a line drive deep into right for his first triple of the season.

St. Bonaventure (0-6) knotted the score with an unearned run in the fourth. After allowing a one-out double, Laudicina forced a popout and then as the Bonnies' Tyler Bell lined a ball down the first base side which looked to be the third out. The ball got away from first baseman Brandon Cable, enabling the runner to score.

It wouldn’t take long for the Broncos to regain their composure and display the offensive firepower. In the fifth inning, the top of the lineup got the hitting parade going as both Miller and Kurt Hoekstra singled. Andrew Sohn was then hit by the first pitch of his at bat to give Kujawa a bases loaded opportunity.  

Kujawa delivered once again with a two-run single to right field. With runners on the corners, Theo Piccirilli slapped a ground ball to the third baseman and Sohn jetted towards home, beating the throw for WMU's third run of the inning.

WMU added a final run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Piccirilli, scoring Hoekstra to make the score 5-1.

Five runs was more than enough for Laudicina (1-1) who went through St. Bonaventure batters with ease, allowing just six hits and striking out four in 7.1 innings. RHP Pat Haynes came in for relief and gave up just one hit, while striking out two in 1.2 innings.

Kujawa had a big day at the plate going 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Piccirilli picked up the other two RBIs for the Broncos. The 1-2 hitters Miller and Hoekstra did their job getting on base, combining to go 5-for-7 and scoring four runs.

Western Michigan plays a doubleheader tomorrow, facing Nebraska Omaha at 10 a.m. and Lehigh at 3 p.m.