KALAMAZOO, Mich.-With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Eric Simcox delivered a walk-off single to lift WMU over Toledo, 6-5, Friday afternoon.
Western Michigan (12-16, 5-5 MAC) led 5-2 after six innings, but Toledo countered with runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth, evening the score at five apiece.
Brent Gerlach started the Bronco ninth dropping a shallow base hit into left field and the Rockets intentionally walked pinch hitter Neal Miller. Pinch hitter Brett Newsome also drew a walk, loading the bases for Simcox.
Derek Schlecker (2-2) earned the win, throwing the final three outs. Starter Ethan Hollingsworth gave a strong performance, lasting eight frames. All four runs under Hollingsworth were unearned, as he scattered six hits and struck out seven.
WMU started the scoring with a run in the second. Matt Abro and Joe Sheets got things going with back-to-back singles and Joe McDonald pushed the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Abro tagged up and beat the throw at the plate on a Kevan Hess sacrifice fly to right field, as WMU went on top, 1-0.
Toledo (16-16, 7-6 MAC) made use of two hits and two errors by the Bronco infield to score two unearned runs in the third, taking a 2-1 advantage.
Western Michigan regained the lead with four runs in the fourth, 5-2. Sheets drew a walk, and the Broncos loaded the bases after consecutive singles by McDonald and Kevan Hess. Pinch hitter Chris Lewis chopped an RBI single to third base and Zach Gentile was hit by pitch, collecting an RBI. Sheets later scored on a passed ball and Pedro Dager plated the fourth run with an RBI single to left field.
Toledo notched a run in the seventh and added a run in the eighth, both unearned, inching to within one, 5-4. The Rockets managed to tie the score in the top of the ninth, using a hit batsman, a sacrifice bunt and a base hit, but the Broncos ultimately prevailed.
WMU out-hit UT, 15-7. Dager led the Brown & Gold offensively, tallying three hits – including a double, and two RBIs. Abro also had a double, going 3-for-4 at the plate. In total, 10 different Broncos recorded hits.
Western Michigan and Toledo continue their three-game series with a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday and will conclude the match up with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.