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Laudicina Hurls Complete-Game Shutout in 7-0 Bronco Victory

Courtesy: Kristin Keirns, associate director of athletic media relations
Release: 04/25/2014
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KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Senior left-handed pitcher Steve Laudicina struck out five in a complete-game shutout, powering Western Michigan to a 7-0 victory over visiting Northern Illinois in game one of this weekend’s three-game Mid-American Conference series at Homer Stryker Field.

It was the third time this season Laudicina has gone the distance and his first career shutout. The three complete games is the most by a Bronco pitcher since J.R. Mathes tossed three in 2004. Mathes was later taken in the 16th round of the MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs that year.

Laudicina passed Mathes, as well as 4th round MLB draft pick Ethan Hollingsworth on the WMU career strikeout list with his five K’s, jumping to sixth all-time with 198.

The senior from Sterling Heights, Mich., had excellent command throughout the day, throwing 117 pitches, 70 for strikes. He issued just three walks, the first of which wasn’t until the seventh inning and scattered six hits, allowing just three runners in scoring position. With the win, he improved to 4-4 on the season.

Western Michigan's offense rattled Northern Illinois starter Anthony Andres in the fourth, batting through the order and posting six runs to break open a scoreless game. Andrew Sohn was hit by a pitch, Brett Sunde singled and Jared Kujawa walked to get the Broncos started. Hunter Prince chopped an RBI single over the third baseman’s head and Kurt Hoekstra drew a bases loaded walk before the Huskies could record an out. WMU went on to score four more with the help of a throwing error and RBIs by Vinnie Booker, Grant Miller and Sohn in his second at bat.

Western Michigan generated a final run in the sixth without a hit. Miller took a ball off the helmet and then made his way to third following a pitch in the dirt and groundout. He scampered home on another wild pitch.

WMU had seven hits in the game. Sohn finished 2-for-2 with an RBI and run scored, and was also plunked twice in the batter's box. Sunde was 2-for-4 and extended his on-base streak to 14 games.

Tommy Hook, Brian Sisler and Jason Gasser each had two hits to account for Northern Illinois’ six total. Andres (3-6) was charged with five runs over 3.2 innings in the loss.

Western Michigan improved to 15-21 on the year and 6-10 in the conference. NIU’s record slipped to 11-29-1 and 6-10 in the MAC.

The game was the first for Western Michigan in Kalamazoo this season, as a long winter delayed the start of baseball in the area. WMU moved this weekend’s series to Homer Stryker Field in downtown Kalamazoo after evaluating the infield at Hyames Field on campus. Due to various circumstances it was decided the surface was not quite yet in optimal game condition.

WMU and Northern Illinois continue the series tomorrow with game two at 1 p.m. and return Sunday for game three, also at 1 p.m.
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