Toledo was dealt a 6-2 setback against Western Michigan in Sunday’s Mid-American Conference series finale at Scott Park. With the loss, the Rockets fall to 20-30 overall, 10-14 in the league.
The Broncos (21-27, 10-14 MAC) scored all six runs with two outs to secure the rubber match and capture the weekend series against the Rockets for the first time in the last six seasons.
UT currently sits tied for fourth place in the MAC West Division with WMU and tied for ninth in the overall league standings with only three conference games remaining. The top three finishers in each division automatically qualify for the upcoming double-elimination league tourney, which is slated to start at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon, OH on Wednesday, May 21, followed by the two next best teams.
At this time, Toledo and WMU are one game out of third place in the division behind Northern Illinois (17-33-1, 11-13 MAC) and one contest shy of the seventh spot behind Akron (24-25, 11-13 MAC).
UT sophomore RHP Caleb Schillace (0-4) was saddled with today’s loss in his first collegiate weekend start. Schillace allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits with one walk in 4.2 innings of work.
Offensively, senior CF Tyler Grogg (2-for-4, RS) and senior DH Jacob North (2-for-3, RS) paced the home team with two hits each.
WMU C Brett Sunde (3-for-5, RS, 4 RBI) and 3B Grant Miller (3-for-4, 2 RS) did the bulk of the damage for the visitors, combining for six hits, three runs scored and four RBI.
The Broncos struck first on a RBI double off the bat of Sunde in the first frame.
UT quickly retaliated in the bottom of the first on a run-scoring groundout off the bat of sophomore SS Deion Tansel (0-for-4, RBI) to knot the difference at 1-1. The inning started with a leadoff double by Grogg and he advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch to bring Tansel to the plate. The Grand Rapids, OH native delivered with a ground ball to the right side of the infield to score Grogg with the equalizer.
WMU recaptured the advantage for good on a two-out RBI single by Sunde in the third. With runners at the corners, the Broncos’ catcher laced the first offering from Schillace into the gap in left-center field to put the visitors ahead for good.
Western Michigan padded its lead with a two-out RBI single up by SS Andrew Sohn (1-for-5, RS, RBI) followed by two-run round tripper from Sunde to make the score 5-1. Their effort was aided by a pair of UT errors to prolong the at-bat and make it a four-run contest.
Toledo mustered one run with a two-out RBI triple by junior 2B Nate Langhals (1-for-2, RBI) in the bottom of the fifth, but the home team could not pull any closer.
The Broncos added an insurance tally with a bases loaded walk in the eighth to set the final score at 6-2.
UT did make the situation interesting in the ninth and had the bases loaded with only one out, but WMU RHP Gabe Berman retired the next two hitters to close out the contest and collect his eighth save of the spring.
WMU LHP Keegan Akin (5-3) was credited with the win, surrendering two runs (all earned) on six hits with two free passes and three punchouts in 8.1 frames.
The Rockets will return to the diamond on Tuesday, May 13 when they close out non-league action at Youngstown State. The non-conference finale against the Penguins is slated for 5:35 p.m. at Eastwood Field.