Senior Hunter Prince delivered the biggest at-bat of his Western Michigan baseball career with a walkoff grand slam to beat Miami 10-6 in WMU’s second game of the MAC Tournament Thursday afternoon at All Pro Freight Stadium.
The RedHawks battled back to the tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the ninth inning, but the Broncos came through in the bottom half to go 2-0 to start the MAC Tournament for the first time in the school’s history.
Senior Mitchell Ho led the inning off with a walk and freshman Nate Grys sacrificed him over to second base. Junior Nick Vogelmeier moved Ho, the winning run, up to third on a groundout. Miami decided to intentionally walk freshman Connor Smith and junior Grant Miller drew a walk to load the bases for Prince, who delivered in the clutch.
To begin the game, WMU put the pressure on early in the bottom of the first inning, as both the one and two batters reached to start the game. Vogelmeier drew a walk to leadoff the inning and Connor Smith drilled a single to the opposite field. After a groundout, senior Hunter Prince hit a grounder to the shortstop for a perfect double play ball, but the return throw ended up down the first base line to score Smith and make it 1-0 WMU.
The Broncos added on to the lead in the bottom of the second inning all with two outs, including a big three-run home run by Grys, the third of his season. Junior Alex Goodwin hit a two-out single over the third baseman's head and Ho sent a double to center field that bounced over the wall for a ground rule double that would have scored Goodwin. This set up Grys line drive three-run home run to left field to make it 4-0 WMU.
Miami came back to tie the game at 4-4, scoring four unanswered including a run in each the third and fourth innings and a two-spot in the sixth. The RedHawks got a solo home run in the fourth and a two-run shot in the top of the sixth.
WMU came right back to regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pair of runs, this time with no outs. Junior Grant Miller drew a walk to leadoff the inning and Prince was hit by the next pitch. Sophomore Tanner Allison delivered a clutch two-run single to right field to make it 6-4 WMU. Allison now has at least one RBI in three straight games and extended his hitting streak to five games.th
Miami never gave up, bringing runs across in the top of the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game at 6-6, setting up Prince to be the hero.
Prince finished 2-for-4 with two runs, four RBI and the grand slam. Smith finished 2-for-4 with two runs while Allison went 1-for-3 with two RBI. Grys went 1-for-3 with the three run shot in the bottom of the second.
The Broncos will take the day off on Friday and wait until Saturday to play either Miami or Central Michigan depending on who wins Friday at 1pm.