PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – St. Bonaventure freshman Braydon Nelson ran his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 18, but it would not be enough as Western Michigan prevailed in an extra inning pitcher's duel, 1-0, Sunday afternoon.
Nelson, making just his second career start after a complete game shutout earlier in the week, was again outstanding. He scattered eight hits, striking out eight. Nelson walked just one batter – and that was an intentional pass to set up a double play with the Broncos threatening during the ninth.
The Bonnies (2-6) were limited to two hits on the day and their best opportunity came in the fourth. Brandon Henshaw and Ryan MacCarrick walked back-to-back to lead off the inning and a single from Tyler Kelder loaded the bases with one out. Broncos starter Jacob Piechota coaxed a ground ball to third that started a 5-2-3 double play to end the threat, however.
Nelson did not allow a Broncos runner past second base until the seventh when WMU put runners at second and third. A pop up on the infield ended the inning before any damage could be done.
In the ninth, the Broncos loaded the bases with one away after two singles and an intentional walk. Nelson got out of trouble by striking out Ethan Hadukovic looking before coaxing a fly ball to center as the game went to extra innings.
Western Michigan (5-4) got to the Bonnies bullpen in the 10th. With Nelson out of the game following 110 pitches of work, the Broncos picked up a leadoff bunt single with Conner Henderson advancing to second on an error with no outs. A sac bunt and a walk put runners at the corners with one out before Nate Grys singled through the left side to score Henderson with the winning run.
David Vaccaro had the only other single for the Bonnies as WMU relievers Brandon Petersen and Andrew Reisinger (2-0) allowed just one hit and one walk over the final five innings.
Their time in Florida now complete, the Bonnies return to action Friday, March 9 at James Madison to begin a three-game non-conference series.
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