Western Michigan baseball eliminated from NCAA Tournament

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Western Michigan waited 27 years to get back to the NCAA baseball tournament, and then lasted about 27 hours in the tournament.

The Broncos were bounced from the double-elimination regional in Louisville on Saturday, falling to Wright State, 10-3.

WMU lost to Louisville, 6-1, in the opener Friday night.

The Broncos (22-34) had their ace on the mound Saturday, in lefty Keegan Akin, a possible top-three-round pick in next week's Major League Baseball draft.

But, uncharacteristically, Akin (7-4, 1.82 ERA) struggled, allowing five earned runs on five hits and four walks in four innings.

"Akin was a Derby horse with two jockeys on his back today," WMU coach Billy Gernon said. "Very special, just weighted down.
"It's rare for him to have (four) walks in a game, nevertheless (four) in four innings.

"I'm excited to see where he goes in the draft."

Akin won two games, including the title game, in last week's Mid-American Conference tournament. He is considered the best draft prospect from the state of Michigan; Akin is from Midland.

Gabe Snyder had a two-run single for Wright State in the first inning, but WMU answered right back with two runs in the first. Hunter Prince had a sacrifice fly and another run scored on a throwing error by Wright State.

After that, though, Wright State's Robby Sexton (7-3), a lefty who pitched 6⅔ innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Sexton struck out five.

Wright State (45-16) remained alive in the regional, which also features Ohio State.

Akin struck out four.

Connor Smith had two hits for the Broncos, and Drew Farmer knocked in the other run for WMU.

There was a tribute before the game to boxing great Muhammad Ali, who died Friday night in Louisville. The flag was at half-mast, with Gernon paying tribute to Ali during his in-game ESPN interview.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984