Broncos Get Timely Hitting, Superb Pitching in 5-1 Game One Win over Eastern Michigan
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Western Michigan came up with hits with runners on base and the Broncos rode the arm of senior left-hander Steve Laudicina in a 5-1 victory over Eastern Michigan in game one of the weekend's three-game series Friday.
Laudicina threw his third-straight and fourth overall complete game of the year to improve his record to 5-4 on the season. The four complete games in a season is the most for a Bronco pitcher since Brad Mumma hurled seven in 2003.
Laudicina did not allow a walk against the Eagles, struck out two and scattered six hits over the nine frames. He retired the side in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The Sterling Heights, Mich., native has gone 3-0 in his last three starts, allowing just two earned runs over 27.0 innings for an eye-popping 0.67 ERA. He has a 2.74 ERA for the season.
Western Michigan's offense generated nine hits, en route to its third win in a row and first victory over Eastern Michigan since 2010, snapping an 11-game skid against its MAC West rival.
Hunter Prince and Kurt Hoekstra each doubled in the game. Prince, Dan Shutes (2-for-3) and Vinnie Booker each drove in one run, while Hoekstra plated two. Grant Miller finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base. Junior shortstop Andrew Sohn swiped his 11th bag of the year and Jared Kujawa had a single and his sixth stolen base.
The two sides traded runs in the second inning. EMU's Michael Mioduszewski slapped a leadoff single and went on to score on a squeeze bunt. Miller hit a leadoff single for the Broncos and scored from second on a single to shallow right by Shutes.
Miller again got the Broncos started with a one-out single in the fourth and was brought home on Prince's double down the left field line. Shutes collected his second hit with a single to short and Booker was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hoekstra scorched a double over the left fielder's head, bringing the first two runners around. Booker also darted for home but was thrown out at the plate.
The Broncos added to their 4-1 lead with a final run in the sixth. Prince was plunked with a pitch, moved to second on a sac bunt by Shutes and scored on a single by Booker to right center.
Eastern Michigan starter Sterling Sharp (1-5) went seven innings for the Eagles in the loss, walking one and striking out one.
The victory improved WMU to 18-23 on the season and 7-12 in the Mid-American Conference. EMU fell to 16-28 overall and 3-16 in the MAC. The Broncos and Eagles return to Homer Stryker Field in downtown Kalamazoo tomorrow for game two at 1 p.m. and conclude the series Sunday.
NOTABLE: Steve Laudicina's two K's gave him 200 for his career, becoming just the sixth ever Bronco to reach the milestone ... he is the all-time WMU leader in career innings pitched with 318.1, and the only Bronco ever to reach 300 IP.