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Western Michigan defeats NIU on Senior Day; Gernon gets his 300th win

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Western Michigan baseball team celebrated its Senior Day with its fourth shutout of the season, defeating Northern Illinois 8-0. With the win, the Broncos climbed back into second place in the Mid-American Conference standings with one weekend left in the regular season. WMU has won eight of its last nine MAC home series.

Before the game, Western Michigan honored its 11 seniors. Hayden Berg, Greg Budig, Ben Campos, Nick Crandell, Jayden Dentler, Jackson Kitchen, Brady Miller, Cade Sullivan, Josh Swinehart, Nolan Vlcek And Ryan Watts.

FINAL RESULT: Western Michigan 8, Northern Illinois 0
LOCATION: Robert J. Bobb Stadium at Hyames Field (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
RECORDS: Western Michigan (27-20, 17-10 MAC) | NIU (18-33, 11-16)
W: Joe Shapiro (3-0) | L: Conner Lauten (0-2)

For the head coach it was the 300th win at the helm of the Broncos Billy GladlyHe becomes the third head coach in program history to reach the 300-win mark. The skipper joins WMU Athletics Hall of Famers Fred Decker (791) and Charlie Maher (437) in the 300-win club.

The quartet of DJ Thompson (3.2 IP), Joe Shapiro (2.1), Luke Thelen (2.0) and Watt (1.0) combined for Western Michigan's fourth shutout of the season, which is also the most in the league. All four of WMU's shutouts came in conference play, with no other team in the MAC recording more than one shutout in league play.

For the second time in a row Dylan Nevar got Western Michigan's offense going with a solo home run in the bottom of the first. It was the redshirt junior's 13th long ball of the season, leading the team.

The Broncos added three more in the second period, with Michael Maloney He scored on a wild pitch and Kitchen brought home a pair with a single.

Threats against Western Michigan's pitching staff were kept to a minimum. The Huskies had two runners on in the second, but Thompson came away with a strikeout. With runners on the corners and two outs in the fourth, Shapiro, who earned the win in relief, extinguished the threat with a strikeout. Thelen worked the seventh and eighth innings with four strikeouts.

The WMU offense capitalized on four more runs in the bottom of the eighth to press its advantage. In his final home game as a Bronco, Swinehart launched a two-run home run to center field. Kitchen drew a walk with the bases loaded to pick up his third RBI of the day, and Sullivan capped off the final run of the afternoon with a sacrifice fly.

The Broncos then turned to Watt to close the door and he responded with two strikeouts and ended the game with a punchout to seal the shutout in his final home appearance on the mound for the Brown and Gold.

Western Michigan did not allow a hit after the fourth inning and the four pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts, bringing this year's roster to 381 for the season, the third-highest total in program history. The 2001 edition of the Broncos set the all-time record with 395 strikeouts.

The Broncos travel to Mount Pleasant to close out the regular season with a three-game set at Central Michigan. The series is scheduled to begin on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Anna Harden

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