Broncos Defeat Notre Dame

Updated 4/26/2000
The Western Michigan University baseball team recorded its biggest victory of the season on Tuesday (April 25) at Sutherland Field in Kalamazoo, knocking off No. 20 Notre Dame, 11-7, to improve to 18-19 overall.

WMU fell behind the Irish, 7-3, after four innings but started to rally in the bottom of the fifth. On a 3-2 pitch, Jason Richards slugged a solo home run to center to start Western Michigan's comeback. Facing the nation's leading team in ERA, WMU scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take the lead for good and added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to seal the win.

Sophomore Keith Perez earned the win with 6 1/3 innings of work on the mound in relief of Shawn Morrison. Perez fanned four, walked one, and allowed three hits to improve to 4-2 on the year. He surrendered one run and retired 10 straight Irish batters to end the game. Morrison went 2 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and six runs, four of which were earned.

In the bottom of the sixth, John Toner connected for a two-run blast to draw Western Michigan within a run at 7-6. After Joe Seestadt walked and Richards reached on an error, Phil Henriksen hammered the first pitch he saw into the trees beyond the left field fence for a three-run homer that gave the Broncos a 9-7 lead.

The Broncos took advantage of four Notre Dame errors in the bottom of the eighth to score their final two runs. Seestadt reached on an error and would later come around to score on a wild pitch. Richards, who had singled, also scored on a error.

Toner, Seestadt, and Richards all drove in two runs for WMU. Toner finished the night 4-5 at the plate with two runs scored. His homer was his team-leading sixth blast of the year. The junior raised his average to .407. Richards collected three hits in five trips to the plate. He also touched home three times. Seestadt scored two runs.

WMU got a big game from Brandon Baker, who was 2-4 at the plate and scored a run in just his fifth start of the season. Baker also played solid defense, recording three putouts and three assists.

Western Michigan is currently in third place in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference, just one game ahead of NIU, a team the Broncos play a key four-game series against in DeKalb this weekend. The top three teams from each division qualify for postseason play.