Sloppiness costs WKU in series against Ragin’ Cajuns

Kurt Carson

WKU got outstanding pitching performances all weekend in its series against Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Toppers put up six runs in their series opener on Friday, leading to a 6-2 win that made things look promising.

However, WKU (13-19, 5-7 Sun Belt Conference) hit a roadblock offensively and posted just one run on seven hits over the final two games in the series loss to ULL (15-16, 5-7) at Moore Field in Lafayette, La.

The Ragin’ Cajuns came into the weekend on a seven-game losing streak and had lost five of their last eight games at home.

It wasn’t pitching that cost the Toppers against ULL.

“We could beat anybody the way we pitched it,” Head Coach Matt Myers told WKU’s Big Red Radio on Sunday. “We were the better team. I don’t think they thought they could win until we gave it to them.”

WKU got solid starting performances from sophomore right-hander Justin Hageman, junior left-hander Tim Bado and junior right-hander Taylor Haydel.

Senior right-hander Ross Hammonds and freshman right-hander Tate Glasscock also provided effective relief out of the Toppers’ bullpen.

“I couldn’t ask any more of our throwers,” Myers said.

Instead, it was the offense that fell flat after game one of the series.

The Toppers scored just one run and accumulated just seven hits over the course of their final two games against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

WKU had a prime opportunity to win Saturday’s game, trailing 1-0 when it put runners on the corners with no outs.

However, “dumb baseball” ran the Toppers out of the inning and the chance for a series-clinching win, Myers said.

Junior shortstop Steve Hodgins attempted a sacrifice bunt, but junior designated hitter Blake Crabtree was thrown out at the plate, and sophomore pinch-hitter Jordan Cessna was caught trying to go first-to-third on the play.

Hodgins was then caught stealing second base to end the game in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of ULL.

On Sunday, the Toppers and Ragin’ Cajuns were tied at one going into the bottom of the ninth.

After ULL shortstop Ryan Leonards got a two-out single and stole second, center fielder Brian Bowman hit a ball that found a hole and plated Leonards to win 2-1 in walk-off fashion.

“I don’t know how the ball got through,” Myers said. “We were out of position. That’s a routine ground ball, and I thought we were out of the inning.”

The Toppers had just one hit on Sunday — the lowest total in a game all season.

ULL scored a total of just five runs in all three games, but it was enough for two wins due to the inefficient WKU offense.

WKU will be back in action this weekend as it continues its road trip at Arkansas State, with the first game at 6 p.m. Friday.