Western Michigan University senior and former Three Rivers High School standout Dan Shutes helped the Broncos split a chilly doubleheader at Butler in Indianapolis Saturday for a pair of wins to claim the three-game series.
After a 3-2 loss in the first game, WMU pounded the Bulldogs 9-3 in the second to improve to 9-8 this season. The Broncos have now won nine of their last 12 games. Shutes, a centerfielder boasting a perfect fielding percentage so far this year, registered three hits Saturday.
“As a team we were just happy to come away with a series win,” Shutes said. Playing a doubleheader on a Saturday isn’t always the easiest thing to do. We had a tough game in Game 1. Coming away with basically what we call a ‘Sunday win’ is nice to see heading into the MAC next weekend. We’re feeling pretty confident about it.”
Western opens Mid-American Conference play March 21 at Miami (Ohio), with the home opener to follow March 25 versus Big Ten opponent Northwestern.
Shutes, one of three brothers currently playing college ball (Drew Shutes is at Adrian and Sam Shutes plays for Toledo), is off to a nice start in his final campaign in Kalamazoo. Having started at every position other than pitcher and catcher throughout his career there, Shutes, who has started nine games this spring, is splitting time with fellow senior Vinnie Booker in center.
“I’m pretty happy with that,” said Shutes, who is hitting .321 through 30 at-bats. “I’m just going to keep working and doing what I can do to help this team win. … I was kind of joking with [Coach Billy Gernon] that maybe on Senior Day he can get me on the bump or something. I doubt that will happen. It keeps it fun for me; I like doing it. Coach ‘G’ has the flexibility to, if somebody gets hurt or there’s a matchup situation he likes, move me anywhere. I just like having that flexibility to make this team more potent during the season.”
The Broncos were 16-38 last year with an 8-19 mark in MAC play.