MACOMB, Ill. - Fighting Leatherneck baseball concluded its first weekend homestand with a doubleheader split against the Fort Wayne Mastodons. Western won game one 2-1 and fell to the Mastodons 3-2 in game two. The Leathernecks are now 7-21 this season and 1-3 in Summit League play.
The first game of the doubleheader was a pitching duel between the two teams. The Leathernecks used three pitchers and allowed just three Mastodon hits in the 2-1 victory.
Brian Loconsole (2-1) picked up the win for Western. The senior threw 1.1 innings, allowing one hit with one strikeout and no runs. Tyler Willman started the game for the Leathernecks and had a career-high seven strikeouts in his outing. Freshman Aaron Michel also appeared on the mound and threw 3.2 scoreless innings.
The Purple & Gold scored first in the game when senior JP Maestas hit his first career home run in the third inning. The solo shot cleared the right field wall to give the Leathernecks a 1-0 lead.
Fort Wayne answered in the top of the fourth with a run of its own to tie the game at 1-1. The Mastodons got a leadoff walk from Evan VanSumeren and an RBI single from Brandon Soat which evened the score.
The game was originally scheduled to last seven innings, but the contest was tied after the seventh so the game was extended to nine innings.
The Leathernecks scored the final run of the game in the bottom half of the ninth on a game-winning walk, drawn by Zack Burling. Western loaded the bases after Jameson Henning hit a single, Mark Garton was hit by a pitch and Payton Jeffers drew a walk of his own.
The win was the first conference victory for Western in 2013, and the first home win in the Ryan Brownlee coaching era.
The Leathernecks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second game of the doubleheader thanks to three hits in the bottom of the first inning.Steve Kedroski all singled in the inning, with Burling and Henning scoring for Western., and
Fort Wayne came out in the top of the second and scored two runs to tie the game at 2-2. VanSumeren led off the inning with a double, which was followed up with a two-run home run by Kendal Whitman for the Dons.
Neither team produced a run in the next three innings and the game remained tied heading to the sixth inning. Fort Wayne picked up two singles in the sixth and one more run to go ahead 3-2. Soat had a pinch hit RBI single that scored Tyler Shepherd and proved to be the final run scored in the game.
Western starter Mason Pingel (1-2) threw 5.1 innings with five strikeouts and took the loss. The Leathernecks also used Alex Doty, Tyler Owings and Sam Welvaert on the mound in the seven-inning contest.
Burling, Henning and Kedroski all had two hits apiece for Western in game two. Henning has now hit safely in 11 straight games for the Purple & Gold.
The Leathernecks will be off until next weekend when they play host to the Omaha Mavericks in a four-game weekend set at Alfred D. Boyer Stadium. The series will consist of a single game on Friday (Apr. 12), doubleheader on Saturday (Apr. 13) and a single game on Sunday (Apr. 14).