WKU falls to ULM in extra innings

Junior Steve Hodgins steals second during a game against Louisiana-Monroe Sunday at Nick Denes Field. WKU lost 7-6.

Kurt Carson

WKU pulled a walk-off win over Louisiana-Monroe in extra innings in Saturday’s game to set up Sunday’s rubber match.

But in another extra-innings game on Sunday, the Warhawks broke the tie and clinched the series victory.

ULM (21-23, 9-12 Sun Belt Conference) defeated WKU (18-26, 9-12) by a score of 7-6 in 12 innings at Nick Denes Field.

WKU Head Coach Matt Myers said his team did all they could to win.

“Our kids played really hard,” Myers said. “We were in positions to win late but you can’t be mad for the way they’re competing.”

Senior right-hander Ross Hammonds was sent to the mound for what would be his sixth pitched inning.

Over those six frames Hammonds allowed just one earned run on six hits.

However, the Warhawks got to him in extra innings to earn the victory.

Third baseman Judd Edwards led off the 12th inning with a single and moved to second base when Hammonds beamed right fielder Justin Stawychny with a pitch.

Hammonds recorded the second out and looked to be on his way out of the jam.

But catcher Logan Fiasco lined a base hit into center field that scored Edwards and gave ULM a 7-6 lead.

The Toppers went scoreless in the bottom of the 12th as they fell to defeat.

Neither WKU or ULM could manage to record a hit through the first 2 1/2 innings of the game.

But the Toppers finally broke through in the bottom of the third inning when junior shortstop Steve Hodgins led off with a triple on a deep fly ball to right-center field.

Hodgins came around to score on an RBI single by sophomore left fielder David Simmons that put WKU up 1-0.

The Toppers added another run in the inning on an RBI double off the bat of sophomore second baseman Scott Wilcox.

However, the Warhawks erased WKU’s lead and tied it up at 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning on a two-RBI double by first baseman Joey Rapp.

WKU wouldn’t leave it tied for long.

In the bottom of the fourth inning ULM starting right-hander Cale Wine issued three walks in a row to load the bases for the Toppers with just one out.

Wilcox hit a fly ball to deep right field that caromed off the wall and plated two runs to give WKU a 4-2 advantage.

Another run would score on an RBI groundout by senior third baseman Casey Dykes to give the Toppers a 5-2 lead after four innings.

But the Warhawks cut WKU’s lead to 5-4 in the top of the fifth inning before completely closing the gap in the top of the seventh inning.

Trailing 5-4 with a runner on third base, second baseman Caleb Clowers grounded out to the right side to allow the run to score and tie the game at 5-5.

After shortstop Jeremy Sy reached second base on an error, Rapp hit his second double of the game to give ULM a 6-5 edge.

However, WKU tied it up in the bottom of the eighth inning.

With junior pinch-runner Blake Crabtree on second base, junior first baseman Ryan Huck flied out to center field while Crabtree tagged up and moved over to third base.

But center fielder Brandon Alexander’s throw sailed past third base and Crabtree came in to score to tie the game at 6-6.

Both ULM and WKU had opportunities to score in the ninth inning.

The Warhawks loaded the bases for designated hitter Corben Green but senior right-hander Ross Hammonds struck him out swinging for the final out.

WKU then loaded the bases as well with just one out.

However, both Crabtree and Huck popped out to strand three WKU runners and send the game to extra innings.

“You can’t say we didn’t have our chances because we definitely did,” senior right fielder Ryan Hutchison said.

Each team went scoreless through the 10th and 11th innings until ULM won the game in the 12th.