Leathernecks Defeat Host Bulldogs in Classic
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Wednesday 02/25/2012
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Dustin Hunter struck out a career-high 12 batters, doubling his career-high set last weekend, and Western Illinois’ offense erupted for 14 hits in an 11-2 victory over host Alabama A&M on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 25) in the Bulldog Classic. The Leathernecks (2-4 overall) ended a four-game losing streak.

Western, held scoreless yesterday and only to two hits in a 1-0 loss, wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Dan Dispensa led off the game with a home run, his first and the team’s first of the season. The Bulldogs, despite Hunter striking out the side in the first, used a passed ball, stolen base and one of the two hits in the game to tie the score. Danny Marcuzzo and Ryan Cowhey hit consecutive doubles to start the second. Cowhey came around to score on a RBI groundout by Manny Reyes for a 3-1 lead.

In the fourth, Dispensa lined a RBI double then later in the inning Matt Igara brought home two with his double. Western got another three runs in the fifth. Marcuzzo delivered a RBI single, Reyes plated another run on a RBI groundout then Dispensa followed with another RBI base hit to make it 9-2. Austin Cowen came up with a RBI single in the seventh then Tom Lilja’s sacrifice fly that frame ended the scoring.

While the offense was providing plenty of run support, Hunter was taking care of things himself. He needed four pitches to get through the fourth inning, then five to retire the side in the fifth - including a strikeout that frame. Hunter closed out his night by striking out the side again in the seventh.

His previous strikeout high was six in 3.1 innings of relief last weekend at Georgia State. Hunter finished with the two unearned runs allowed on two hits and walked two to go with his 12 Ks. He also set a personal-best in innings pitched.

Chris Macek and Tom Constand each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to close out the game.

Dispensa not only hit his first career leadoff homerun, but the junior centerfielder matched a career-high with three RBI. His three hits also matched a season-high. For the fifth time in Cowen’s career he recorded three hits in a game. Cowhey set a high with two doubles and matched his personal-best of three runs scored. Marcuzzo also set a career-high scoring three times. Half of Western’s 14 hits went for extra bases.

Allen Belue (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing nine runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings. Brandyn Crutcher and Dylan Johnson accounted for the two singles for AAMU (3-4).

Western closes out the Classic with a 12 noon scheduled start on Sunday (Feb. 26) against Maryland Eastern Shore.


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