In a game that took just two hours, 15 minutes to complete, Irish starter John Axford and WMU's Keith Perez were locked in a pitching duel. Axford remained perfect on the year (6-0), fanning 12 batters over seven innings. Perez allowed just five hits and struck out five in six innings of work.
"We had a good seven innings, but it was a nine-inning game," said WMU Head Coach Fred Decker. "We didn't do a good job of putting the ball in play and the 16 strikeouts had a lot to do
Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when Kris Billmaier singled home Brennan Grogan. WMU tied the contest in the third as Steve Horn stroked a lead-off home run to left field, his
first round tripper of the season.
The Irish scored their go-ahead run in the fifth. LF Cody Rizzo singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, went to third on a base hit and scored on Greg Lopez' ground out.
WMU had a chance to pull even in the seventh, but Mike Demetral was thrown out at home by CF Brennan Grogan. The Irish then broke the game open in the eighth, batting around in the
lineup to push five runs across.
Western Michigan returns to action this Friday (April 11), hosting Northern Illinois at 3:00 p.m. at Hyames Field.
NOTES: The home run given up by Axford was just his second in 37 innings. His 12 Ks was a stadium record for a ND pitcher ... WMU has played four ranked opponents this season ... WMU's 16 strikeouts was a season-high.
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