WKU falls to UALR in ninth inning

Billy Rutledge

The WKU (22-21, 10-10) baseball team and Arkansas-Little Rock (18-23, 6-14) went into the ninth inning tied 5-5 but once the inning was over, the Trojans came out on top 7-5 to tie the weekend series.

A leadoff double and error advanced the Trojan runner to third in the top of the ninth. After a pitching change to junior closer Ian Tompkins, a RBI single broke the deadlock and made the score 6-5. Three batters later with runners on first and second, a wild pitch that bounced near the dugout scored the runner from second to cross the final run at 7-5.

The Trojans then proceeded to load the bases with one out but junior Brandon Allen got two outs without allowing another run. Three of the five pitchers for WKU Saturday pitched in the ninth that gave the Toppers their 21st lost of the year.

“We weren’t good enough and I don’t want to take anything away from Arkansas Little Rock because they did what they were suppose to do,” Coach Matt Myers said. “Nine walks, two hit by pitches and three errors are a recipe for losses. We weren’t good enough.”

The WKU offense struggled late but had things going early. In the second game of the weekend series junior Ryan Church led the way, hitting two solo home runs for the Toppers in the first and third innings.

WKU had 10 hits Saturday but none were more important than sophomore Anderson Miller’s two run single in the fifth inning. With WKU trailing 4-2, a hit batter and two walks loaded the bases for Miller. The hit past the second baseman scored two and tied the game at four.

WKU followed up the next inning scoring one run in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead. After a single by senior David Simmons, junior pinch hitter Ryan Messex rocketed a single to right center but got caught in a run down. After being tagged out, a heads up Simmons went home and gave the lead to WKU.

The lead didn’t last long as the Trojans tied the game in the top of the seventh after a walk, an error and a single. WKU’s bullpen only held the lead for one inning before letting Arkansas-Little Rock tie the game and then take the victory.

Sophomore Josh Bartley had a tough day on the mound but it could have been a lot worse. Bartley pitched five innings allowing six hits, four runs (three earned) and three strike outs on 107 pitches. Bartley allowed every leadoff hitter against him Saturday to reach base and every second hitter besides one to reach as well.

The Toppers committed three errors and held a lead over the Trojans after six innings in their loss Saturday. UALR is ranked last in the Sun Belt Conference standings while WKU is tied for fourth.

“We’re at home and we let it slip away,” Church said. “It’s a tough one to take but we have to come out tomorrow and win.”

“It’s an all around, tough, bad loss,” Myers said. “After playing as good as we did last night, I though we played a pretty good game against Louisville and last weekend Saturday and Sunday were really good. It’s unfortunate.”

The teams will decide the weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Nick Denes Field.