Bronco Baseball Splits Doubleheader at Butler, Wins Road Series
The loss snapped Western Michigan’s six-game winning streak, but with the victory in game two, WMU improved to 9-8 on the season. The Broncos have won 9 of their last 12.
WMU sophomore second baseman Kurt Hoekstra had a hit in each game, increasing hit current hitting streak to 13 games. Dan Shutes, Andrew Sohn and Jared Kujawa each had three hits for the day.
“It was tough to see our win streak come to an end but it worked out perfect because it forced us to dig in and fight to win a road series,” said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. “We struck out 20 and walked only five while not committing an error today in 16 innings and went 20-for-63 at the plate. It is always a good thing when you win a series on the road.”
The Broncos defeated Butler (6-11) Friday afternoon, 11-1, and outscored the Bulldogs for the series, 22-7, hitting .324 as a team.
Western Michigan heads to Miami for its opening Mid-American Conference series next weekend, March 21-23, and is scheduled to play its home-opener against Northwestern in Kalamazoo on Tuesday, March 25.
GAME ONE RECAP
Butler took a 2-0 lead on four hits in the bottom of the third off of WMU starter Chad Mayle. Mayle was nearly flawless other than the third, as the four hits were the only ones he surrendered over 4.2 innings. He retired the side in the first, second and fourth and fanned a season-high eight batters.
WMU cut the deficit to one with an unearned run in the fourth and pulled even on a sac fly by Hoekstra in the fifth. Steve Buglione came around to score after hitting a leadoff single.
The Bulldogs took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth with reliever Derek Schneider on the mound and held on for the win. Butler’s Michael Fries hit a leadoff single, moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and was brought home on an RBI single to right field by Chris Maranto. Schneider (1-2) took the loss.
WMU threatened in the seventh, but was unable to tie the game again. Shutes hit a leadoff single and advanced to second on a sac bunt. Hoekstra singled to left in the next at bat and Shutes was forced to hold at second. The Bulldogs got out of the innings with a flyout and a groundout.
GAME TWO RECAP
The Broncos put four runs on the board in the fourth and tallied two more, unearned, in the fifth to open a 6-0 advantage.
All of Butler’s offense came off one swing, as Fries hit a three-run shot to left field in the bottom of the fifth, cutting WMU’s lead in half.
Western Michigan went to work again in the top of the sixth, adding another run and closed the game with two more in the ninth. Ten different Broncos had a hit in the game and WMU pounded 13 hits total.
Right fielder Jared Kujawa went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. He drove in two with a single in the fourth. Freshman third baseman Grant Miller went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and designated hitter Caleb Caton finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Sophomore right-handed reliever Pat Haynes (1-0) picked up his first win of the season, holding Butler hitless over 2.1 innings. Freshman LHP Keegan Akin struck out five in the start and went 4.2 innings. Sophomore RHP Gabe Berman also appeared out of the bullpen, scattering three hits over the final two frames, while striking out three.