TOLEDO, Ohio – The Western Michigan baseball team set themselves up with a chance to win their second straight Mid-American Conference (MAC) series, downing Toledo 4-1 on the road Saturday afternoon behind another strong pitching performance. This was the fourth straight game WMU has held their opponent to two runs or less.
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The Broncos improved to 13-10 overall and 3-2 in the MAC, with the rubber match coming up on Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m.
"It was another cool and wind blowing in type of day," head coach Billy Gernon said. "We were better in our approach and got the lead and never surrendered it. Gabe Berman was outstanding out of the bullpen."
As Gernon mentioned, senior Gabe Berman (2-1) was spectacular out of the bullpen, pitching the final 6.0 innings scoreless on his way to earning the win. He entered in the fourth inning with runners on first and second and nobody out with a Rocket run in the inning already. He went on to retire the next nine batters he faced in the game. In Berman's last four appearances, he's thrown 9.0 shutout innings, earning one win and three saves. Jimmy Townsend-Chase started the game and pitched 3.0 innings allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts.
WMU scored three runs in the top of the third inning to take a 3-0 lead off three hits and a Rocket error. Connor Smith got things started with a one-out bunt single to third base and Grant Miller followed that with a single to center field. After a flyout, Nate Grys singled to third base to score Smith and make it 1-0 WMU. Jesse Forestell, the next batter, reached on a throwing error to second base which scored both Grys and Miller to make it 3-0.
The Rockets added a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to make it 3-1, but after three straight scoreless innings, the Broncos got that run back in the top of the eighth inning with a run of their own, bringing the score to 4-1. In the eighth inning, Andrew Stone opened with a single to second base and moved up on a wild pitch. Senior Nick Vogelmeier delivered the clutch RBI single to left field to give the Broncos the insurance run.
Offensively, the Broncos finished with 10 hits as three players finished with multiple hits. Grys finished 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI while Smith went 2-for-4 with a run and a stolen base and Vogelmeier went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Forestell went 1-for-4 with an RBI as well.
The Broncos and Rockets will square off one final time on Sunday, April 2 at 1 p.m. with the series on the line.