WKU drops Sunday doubleheader, loses series

Kurt Carson

After winning Friday night’s series opener, WKU seemed to on its way to a much-needed series victory.

Saturday’s game was postponed to set up a Sunday doubleheader.

But WKU (21-30, 11-16 Sun Belt Conference) dropped both games of the doubleheader to South Alabama (20-31, 14-13) and lost the series at Stanky Field in Mobile Ala.

After falling in the first game and getting themselves in a hole in the second the Toppers made an attempt at a late comeback.

Trailing 8-3 in the top of the eighth inning, WKU used some two-out magic to spark the rally.

Freshman catcher Ryan Messex and senior center fielder Jared Andreoli produced back-to-back singles and sophomore shortstop Scott Wilcox drew a walk to load the bases for WKU.

Senior third baseman Casey Dykes proceeded to draw a bases-loaded walk and senior right fielder Ryan Hutchison was hit by a pitch to plate two runs and cut South Alabama’s lead to 8-5.

Then in the bottom of the ninth inning Andreoli picked up an RBI single and Dykes drew another bases-loaded walk to make it an 8-7 deficit.

But with the bases still loaded, Hutchison flied out to deep right field to end the game and cause the come back to come up short.

“It’s in our DNA to fight but I just thought we didn’t play very well today,” Head Coach Matt Myers told WKU’s Big Red Radio Network.

South Alabama got out to an early lead in the second game of the doubleheader with two first-inning runs.

The Jaguars then extended their lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a bases-loaded walk by left fielder Whitt Dorsey and a bases-clearing, three-run double by center fielder Jordan Patterson.

“I told the guys that was our fault from a coaching standpoint,” Myers said. “We were out of position and that should’ve been a routine fly ball.”

Wilcox hit a solo home run in each of the fifth and seventh innings to make it a 6-3 game. It’s the first time in his career that he’s recorded a two-home run game.

But the Jaguars used a two-run home run by right fielder Nolan Earley in the bottom of the seventh inning to provide insurance runs that proved to be critical as they held off WKU for the 8-7 victory to clinch the series.

South Alabama’s 2-3-4 hitters – Dorsey, Patterson and Earley – combined for a total of seven hits and seven RBIs.

In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Toppers were the ones to first jump on the scoreboard.

WKU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by junior catcher Devin Kelly.

However, South Alabama answered with a two-RBI single by shortstop Graham Odom in the bottom of the second inning and an RBI triple by Patterson in the bottom of the third inning to gain a 3-1 advantage.

The Toppers only accumulated four hits throughout the game and couldn’t manage to record a hit after the fourth inning while the Jaguars tacked on an insurance run on route to a 4-1 win.

Junior left-hander Tim Bado started on the mound for WKU and pitched all eight innings while allowing just four earned runs on six hits.

But right-hander Jarron Cito got the start for South Alabama and allowed just one earned run in seven innings while left-hander Kyle Bartsch provided two innings of scoreless relief.

WKU will return home Tuesday when it faces Eastern Kentucky at Nick Denes Field at 6 p.m. before hosting its last Sun Belt series against Middle Tennessee State beginning on Thursday at 6 p.m.