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Baseball drops three-of-four to Western Michigan

<p>Senior infielder Tyler Wardell (pictured, no. 1) jumps for joy with a teammate during last weekend&#x27;s series vs. Western Michigan</p>

Senior infielder Tyler Wardell (pictured, no. 1) jumps for joy with a teammate during last weekend's series vs. Western Michigan

The Western Michigan Broncos visited Oxford this weekend for a series at Mckie Field. The visiting Broncos took the series, winning three-of-four games against the RedHawks.

FRIDAY

The RedHawks were sloppy in game one of Friday’s doubleheader. They lost 9-0 and made four errors in the contest.

Grant Hartwig started the game for Miami and threw five innings. He gave up five runs, but only three earned, and struck out eight while walking zero. Brady Mclean came in after an hour-long rain delay during the sixth inning and gave up zero earned runs in 1.1 innings.

Game two was delayed until 9 p.m. due to rain, five hours later than the originally scheduled start time. 

The RedHawks entered the bottom of the fourth inning down two, after Western Michigan scored twice in the third on two separate wild pitches. 

Freshman left fielder Dalton back started off for the ’Hawks with a ground rule double to right-center. Up next, junior designated hitter (DH) Cole Andrews crushed a home run to dead centerfield to tie the game. 

An inning later, Miami took the lead. Sophomore third baseman Brian Zapp led off the inning by poking a single through the right side of the infield. 

Two batters later, freshman center fielder Benji Brokemond knocked a 3-2 pitch down the right field line. By the time the Broncos got the ball back on the infield, Zapp had scored and Brokemond was standing on third with a triple. 

The lead wouldn’t last. In the top of the seventh and final inning, Western Michigan catcher Connor Charping singled up the middle, knocking in two runs. WMU took the lead on the play, and wouldn’t give it up — The Broncos shut the door on Miami in the bottom of the frame, and took game two 4-3.

SATURDAY

Saturday’s game was also delayed by rain. First pitch was originally scheduled for 1 p.m., but was moved three times in advance of the game. After trying to start at 4 p.m., and 6 p.m., the teams finally took the field for the game at 8 p.m. 

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The first five innings were scoreless. Junior righty Sam Bachman went six innings, giving up only one hit and striking out eleven batters. Bachman shut out the Broncos until the sixth inning. 

In the top of the sixth, WMU’s third baseman Jimmy Allen led off. Just before Allen’s at bat, rain had started pelting McKie field, and Bachman threw four straight balls through the rain.  

The next batter dropped a sacrifice bunt that advanced Allen to second. Then Bachman lost control of two consecutive slick baseballs. His first wild pitch moved Allen to third, and the Broncos’ first run came in on the second. 

The ’Hawks took the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Senior first baseman Michael Morissette started Miami out with a single, and freshman infielder Nick Clark walked. Next, graduate student second baseman Will Vogelgesang punched a single between the first and second basemen, knocking in Morrissette, and moving speedy junior outfielder Mac Hippenhammer (who pinch ran for Clark) to third. Redshirt-freshman right fielder Nate Stone hit a sacrifice fly at bat later to score Hippenhammer.

Once again, the RedHawk lead wouldn't last. WMU tied it up the next inning when first baseman Sean O’Keefe singled up the middle to drive in a run.

The game stayed tied until the top of the tenth inning. WMU DH Josh Swinehart clubbed a home run off the Mckie Field scoreboard to take the lead. Miami went down in their half of the extra frame, and they lost 3-2.

SUNDAY

Miami’s bats woke up Sunday, and in a big way. The ’Hawks avoided the series sweep, and beat Western Michigan 16-9. 

Miami put up nine runs in their half of the first inning. The runs came from seven hits, two hit-by-pitches, and two walks. Brokemond was 2-2 in the inning, and Morrissette came through with a triple that scored three.

The RedHawks scored three more an inning later on a Brokemond double that scored two, and Vogelgesang’s bunt single to score Brokemond. In the third, Andrews tripled and scored on a wild pitch. Later, junior catcher Nick Neibauer doubled to right field and scored on a Billy Kopicki single. 

Senior shortstop Tyler Wardwell hit a home run in the seventh and sophomore second baseman finished the scoring for Miami in the eighth, with an RBI single.

WHAT’S NEXT

With the series loss, Miami falls to third in the MAC, three losses behind Ball state and two behind Central Michigan. The RedHawks travel to Bowling Green next weekend for another four game series. The teams play at 3 p.m. on Friday, noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

@jacksmerz

schmelj2@miamioh.edu

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