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Western Michigan Stops Birdball, 5-3

Eagles strand nine despite 2-for-2 performance by Logan Hoggarth.

A day after winning an emotional, 11-inning affair, the Boston College Eagles simply ran out of gas, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Western Michigan Broncos in Port Charlotte, Florida.  Logan Hoggarth went 2-for-2 to increase his Florida road trip average to .583, and Gabriel Hernandez hit his first career home run as BC attempted to stage a ninth-inning rally.

The Broncos took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second off starting pitcher Jeff Burke.  Jared Kujawa led off the inning with a fly ball to right that went over the fence on the hop, sending him to second with a ground rule double.  He scored almost immediately when Brett Sunde singled to left.

The game remained 1-0 into the fifth inning when BC tied the game in the bottom of the frame.  Hoggarth led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a one-out grounder by Hernandez.  With two out, Joe Cronin laced a double to center to tie the game at 1-1.

But WMU (3-7) responded in the top of the sixth.  Facing Nick Poore, who was brought into the game to relieve Burke, the Broncos scored another single run on two hits.  Sunde singled to the left side with one out.  Theo Piccirilli then grounded into a fielder's choice that retired Sunde at second for the second out.  But Piccirilli scored from first when Caleb Canton laced an RBI double to center.

The Broncos continued to pour it on in the seventh as the BC bullpen and team simply started running out of gas in their fourth game in as many days.  Andrew Sohn batted a single up the middle, then was moved to second when Poore committed the first balk of the season by a BC pitcher.  With a runner in scoring position, Kurt Hoekstra drilled a triple to score Sohn and put BC down, 3-1.  That inevitably led to Jesse Adams coming into the game for Poore two batters later, but Adams surrendered an RBI single to Kujawa.  Kujawa was caught stealing, but the Broncos took a commanding 4-1 lead in the process.  They added another in the eighth to make it 5-1.

Hoggarth scored an RBI double in the eighth to try and start a rally for BC, but the Birdballers failed to capitalize any further.  In the ninth, Hernandez ripped a leadoff homer over the right field fence for his first career nut, but BC went down shortly thereafter to lose the game, 5-3.

Burke didn't pitch poorly on the mound despite dealing with a little bit of illness, lasting five innings and giving up just one run on three hits.  Poore was tagged for the loss in giving up three runs on four hits across 1.2 innings, and Eric Stevens came out of the bullpen for his first relief appearance of the season, throwing 2.1 IP and allowing a run on four hits.

Eagle bats left nine men on base, continuing a disturbing trend of not being able to hit with men on.  Keegan Akin went six innings for the Broncos to pick up his second win of the season, walking three and hitting 90 on the radar guns.  Not a single BC bat went down by way of the K, but the tiring bats, a night after the emotional game, on their fourth game in a row, simply weren't enough.  But Hoggarth went 2-for-2 and Chris Shaw picked up a hit to extend his hitting streak to 10 games to open up the season.

BC (6-4) will now head from the Gulf Coast to the Treasure Coast, where they'll take on Florida Atlantic on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Both game times are set for 6:30 PM.

Coach Gambino after the game:

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Gambino After Western Michigan Loss (via Bird Ball)