Toppers give up late runs in loss to South Alabama

Billy Rutledge

The WKU baseball team looked to be in-control of Friday’s game against South Alabama when senior pitcher Justin Hageman handed the ball over to the bullpen in the seventh inning leading 6-3.

But the bullpen couldn’t hold on to the lead once again as the Jaguars came back to win 13-10 at Nick Denes Field in the first of a three game series this weekend.

Hageman pitched six innings allowing three earned runs on four hits. When he left the game, WKU was leading 6-3. The Jaguars would go on to score 10 unanswered runs against the relievers on their way to the victory.

“It was awful, very embarrassing. I apologize to all our fans,” coach Matt Myers said. “We were in complete control of that game through six innings and then are bullpen and defense just killed us.”

Five different pitchers worked innings seven though nine giving up ten runs on seven hits and six walks. The Jaguars scored one run in the seventh, three in the eighth and six in the ninth. The last game WKU played this week against Indiana, the starting pitcher for WKU, Ryan Thurston, pitched a no-hitter into the eighth inning before the WKU bullpen lost the game in extra innings 1-0. 

WKU led 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning and had a chance to tack on some runs. With the lead-off batters at the corners, a stolen base attempt was called back due to batter interference call. The batter was called out and so was the Toppers momentum as they failed to score that inning.

WKU had another chance to tie the game in the eighth inning trailing 7-6 as they once again got the first two batters on first and second. Junior Ryan Church failed to lay a sacrifice bunt down and again WKU was held scoreless. 

The Toppers didn’t quit in the ninth inning by bringing in four runs on five hits but the deficit was too much as they fell three runs short.

“They are going to have to be big boys and comeback tomorrow with their heads held high,” Myers said. “That’s not the way we play. We came out with great energy and played a great game for six innings and then a really bad seventh and eighth.”

“If you get the game tomorrow and win Sunday, you don’t think too much about this one, and that’s the goal to win two out of the three.”

Before the comeback by the Jaguars, the Toppers were having no trouble at the plate. WKU racked up ten runs on 17 hits, which included sophomore Anderson Miller’s fourth triple of the year. Church went 3-4 with three RBI’s to lead the Toppers.

WKU will face South Alabama two more times the next time being Saturday at 3 p.m.