The Miami RedHawks (28-16, 13-8 Mid-American) ended their 2018 road schedule with a series victory as they took two of three from the Western Michigan Broncos this weekend in their final set away from Hayden Park.
Miami won the series-opener 10-6 on Friday, before falling 6-1 on Saturday. The ‘Hawks rebounded with a 3-1 win on Sunday to claim the series.
The RedHawks didn’t waste any time in Game One, jumping ahead 1-0 on a two-out RBI single by sophomore third baseman Landon Stephens.
Western Michigan (20-21, 9-10 MAC) took its first lead of the game an inning and a half later when a two-run single put the Broncos up 2-1.
Miami tied the game at two in the top of the fourth. Sophomore second baseman Will Vogelgesang doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a groundout by freshman center fielder Parker Massman. Vogelgesang scored after tagging up and coming home on a sacrifice fly by Redshirt sophomore left fielder Kyle Winkler.
Not wanting to be outdone, the Broncos retook the lead a half-inning later on a sac fly of their own.
After junior catcher Hayden Senger hit an RBI single in the top of the fifth, junior outfielder Nate Grys gave WMU another lead with a two-run dinger.
Both teams were held scoreless in the sixth. Down 5-3, MU went into the seventh looking for a spark.
Senior shortstop Adrian Texidor provided that jolt as he drew a walk and then stole second base to start the inning. After junior right fielder Dallas Hall struck out, Redshirt senior first baseman Ross Haffey also walked, giving Miami runners on first and second with Hayden Senger coming to the plate.
Ever the clutch hitter, Senger crushed a home run to left field to give the RedHawks a 6-5 lead — a lead they’d never lose.
MU extended its advantage to two on an RBI single from Texidor in the eighth.
After Western Michigan tallied one to keep in close in the eighth, Miami tacked on three more in the ninth to put the contest out of reach.
The RedHawks won 10-6 after keeping the WMU offense at bay in the ninth.
Senger and Texidor were the offensive stars for Miami as they combined to go 4-for-5 with five RBIs, four runs scored and five walks.
After a dominant first half of the season, sophomore starter Spencer Mraz struggled for the fourth straight start, pitching 5.1 innings and giving up five runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out five.
Junior Shane Smith (W, 2-2) was awarded the win for his two innings of one-run work out of the bullpen.
Game Two was a pitcher’s duel for all but two half-innings.
Junior Zach Spears started for Miami, and like Mraz the day before, struggled mightily, allowing six runs in just 1.1 innings pitched.
Western Michigan loaded the bases and took a 1-0 lead when Spears walked in a run. After an RBI single drove in a run and preserved the loaded bases, junior third baseman Jimmy Roche crushed a grand slam to cap off the six-run frame.
MU head coach Danny Hayden removed Spears in favor of his bullpen after Roche’s grand slam. Redshirt senior Jacob Banks and junior Bailey Martin pitched the final 6.2 innings and only gave up two hits. Neither gave up a run.
Miami got its lone run in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Hall.
Spears (L, 3-4) was tagged with the loss after giving up the six WMU runs. He uncharacteristically walked four and struck out just one in his 12 batters faced.
Coming off two straight complete games, senior Gus Graham got the start for Hayden’s RedHawks in the series-finale on Sunday and turned in another great outing.
Graham pitched seven innings and gave up only one run. He handed out four hits and four walks, while striking out two.
He got some support from his teammates along the way, as Haffey jacked a solo home run to deep center field to give Miami a 1-0 lead in the sixth.
The Broncos threatened with runners in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Graham stranded the runners both times.
After playing long ball in sixth, Haffey proved he could play small ball in the eighth when he sacrifice bunted Massman in from third to push MU’s advantage to 2-0.
Graham was pulled from the game after giving up a leadoff hit in the bottom of the eighth. Junior Jack Corbell came in and loaded the bases, before he was relieved of his duties by junior Andy Almquist.
Almquist allowed an RBI single that scored the runner Graham was responsible for and gave WMU its only run of the game. After that, Almquist combined with Shane Smith to get out of the inning unscathed.
Leading by a narrow 2-1 margin, the RedHawks tried to start another rally in the ninth.
Vogelgesang drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a Winkler single to right.
Redshirt senior Spencer Dull was called on to pinch-hit for Hall, and laid down a successful safety squeeze bunt to score Vogelgesang from third.
Smith pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to earn the save and clinch a 3-1 MU victory.
Graham (W, 5-0) stayed perfect on the year by picking up a win.
The RedHawks have now won six of their seven MAC series this season.
Miami returns to Oxford to take on Ball State in a non-conference matchup on today. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.