Pitching Fuels Doubleheader Sweep at Ohio, Broncos Win Series
ATHENS, Ohio- Western Michigan (12-12, 3-3 MAC) handed Ohio a 4-2 loss in game one and blanked the Bobcats 4-0 in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader to win this weekend’s Mid-American Conference series, 2-1.
Western Michigan’s wins were fueled by exceptional pitching. Junior RHP Chad Mayle (3-2) fanned five batters over 7.2 innings in game one and held Ohio off the scoreboard until the eighth. Sophomore RHP Gabe Berman tallied his fourth save of the year, striking out one in the final inning and a third.
In the second game of the day, freshman LHP Keegan Akin (3-0) recorded 12 strikeouts in a complete nine-inning effort and WMU’s first shutout of the year. Akin’s performance was the most strikeouts by a Bronco pitcher since Ethan Hollingsworth notched 12 in 2006 and just the third time since a Bronco pitcher has tallied double digit K’s.
Akin (2.27 ERA) now leads Western Michigan with 32 strikeouts in 2014, throwing 39.2 innings.
“Today was huge for us as we had to sweep a doubleheader in order to win the series, and we did,” said WMU head coach Billy Gernon. “We did it behind great pitching, solid defense and timely hitting. Chad Mayle was superb in game one and Keegan Akin was electric in game two.
“We showed tremendous character and grit in the face of adversity having to surrender home field advantage and climb back on the bus this weekend due to Hyames Field still recovering from a relentless winter. I am very proud of our team, they should be proud too.”
Sophomore Brandon Cable hit his first career home run in game two, a two-run blast over the 380 mark in right center in the sixth. Junior Jared Kujawa cracked his third career home run in the seventh with a solo shot to right.
Cable also drove in a run in game one with a fielder’s choice. Freshman Nick Vogelmeier and sophomore Brett Sunde had RBI singles in the contest and freshman Grant Miller roped his second triple of the season, going 3-for-4 at the plate. WMU leads the conference with 13 triples.
Western Michigan had seven hits in game one and 10 in game two, giving the team 17 hits for the day. Miller finished 4-for-6 with three runs scored and a walk.
The losses dropped Ohio to 5-19 overall and 1-5 in the MAC. The Bobcats won Friday's meeting, 5-3.
Over the 27 innings played this weekend, the Western Michigan pitching staff had a 1.00 combined ERA and struck out 22.
The three-game weekend series was originally scheduled to be held in Kalamazoo, but due to field conditions at Robert J. Bobb Stadium, was moved to Athens. Despite the change of venue, Western Michigan was still considered the “home” team and batted second in all three contests.
Western Michigan is scheduled to travel to Northwestern Wednesday, but the status of that contest is questionable due to inclement weather expected to hit the Chicago area. The Broncos have Bowling Green slated for a three-game series in Kalamazoo this weekend, and those games may be moved to a different venue as well. A decision will be made later this week and posted on wmubroncos.com.