FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Fighting Leatherneck baseball defeated the Fort Wayne Mastodons 4-3 in game one of the weekend series on Friday (Apr. 26). The Leathernecks were down early, but able to score late inning runs to pick up the team’s 11th win of the season and fourth in a row.
Aaron Michel (3-1) picked up his team best third win of the season in the game. The freshman lefty threw a career high seven-innings and matched his career high with seven strikeouts. Sam Welvaert picked up his first career save for Western after throwing the final two-innings with four strikeouts and no hits allowed.
The Mastodons took advantage of two first inning errors to take an early 2-0 lead. Fort Wayne then increased their lead to 3-0 in the fourth after Kevin Wirth hit a solo home run over the left field wall.
Western battled back however, scoring one run in the sixth to narrow the lead to 3-1. Zack Burling led off the inning with a single and advanced from first to third on a Jameson Henning single through the right side. Burling crossed the plate after Steve Kedroski had an RBI ground out.
The Leathernecks scored three more runs in the seventh inning to take the lead for good. Mark Garton led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a Neil DeCook bunt single. Garton scored and DeCook then advanced to third after Tanner Glore hit an RBI single up the middle one batter later. DeCook and Glore would both score on sacrifice fly’s to give the Purple & Gold the lead.
Western held Fort Wayne scoreless in the final two innings to seal the victory. Burling and Dan Dispensa each had two hits for the Leathernecks in the game. Dispensa’s two hits move him into sole possession of second place for most hits all time at Western Illinois with 204.