April 6, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University baseball team got a tuneup before hosting their first home game of the 2000 season.
The Broncos split a doubleheader at Illinois on Wednesday (April 5) in Champaign, Ill. WMU fell 10-9 in eight innings in the opening game, but bounced back with a 12-6 triumph in the nightcap to post the split with the Illini.
Western Michigan is now 12-12 on the year. The Broncos are 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference heading into a pair of key doubleheaders this weekend. WMU hosts Bowling Green on Saturday (April 8) at 1 p.m. at Hyames Field in its 2000 home opener and welcomes the Miami University RedHawks to Kalamazoo on Sunday (April 9) at 1 p.m. Miami and BGSU were predicted to finish first and second, respectively, in the MAC's East Division.
Ryan Kochen belted a grand slam in the second game. He went 7-9 with four runs scored and five RBI in the twinbill. Jason Richards also had a big day at the plate, collecting six hits in seven plate appearances. Richards drove in three runs and scored five times against Illinois. Andy Cosentino was 3-4 and drove in a pair of runs. He also scored two times.
WMU 12, Illinois 6
Ryan Kochen's grand slam keyed the Broncos' seven-run second inning. After singles by Chad Tarpley and Andy Cosentino and a walk to Tim Bellestri, Kochen connected for his second roundtripper of the year. Tarpley's single scored Joe Seestadt, who had reached on an error. Cosentino also drove in a run with a bunt single while Bellestri's base-loaded walk plated Chris Richter. Bellestri added a three-run home run in the top of the seventh to give the Broncos some breathing room after the Illini had closed within three runs at 9-6.
Rookie Pat Misch made the start for WMU, throwing 3 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run. He also fanned five Illinois batters. Josh Clark earned the win with 2 1/3 innings of relief work. Matt Vriesenga pitched the final inning.
Illinois 10, WMU 9
The Broncos scored at least one run in the first six innings and in seven of the eight frames but could not hold off the Illini. WMU pounded out a total of 16 hits. Jason Richards was 4-4 at the plate while Ryan Kochen and Joe Seestadt both collected three hits in four plate appearances. Richards and Seestadt both drove in a pair of runs for WMU.
With the scored tied at eight after seven innings of play, Western Michigan scored a solo run in the top of the eighth when pinch runner Brandon Baker scored on Greg Graham's sacrifice fly to center. Illinois scored twice in its half of the inning to steal the win. Two singles and a double gave the Illini the winning runs.
Angelo Palazeti was charged with the loss. He pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief. Shawn Morrison started for WMU and threw 3-2/3 innings. Andy Spencer and Keith Perez pitched one and two innings of relief for the Broncos.
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