Sloppy play results in 7-2 WKU loss

Kurt Carson

Poor defense and pitching cost WKU (4-8) Wednesday night in its 7-2 loss at the hands of Evansville (7-5).

The Toppers had four errors, issued nine walks and threw three wild pitches in the defeat at Nick Denes Field.

WKU Head Coach Matt Myers said the team’s performance on the field was simply “embarrassing.”

“Everything that we do right now we come out and don’t execute. We’re sloppy, we continue to walk people, we make errors and we get in our own ways,” Myers said. “There’s a lot of pride in this program and these guys are coming out and being selfish and playing bad baseball.”

The sloppy play largely began in the third inning with WKU sophomore right-hander GJ Strauss on the mound.

Strauss gave up a leadoff walk to Purple Aces’ center fielder Kevin Kaczmarski and allowed him to advance to second base on a wild pitch.

A single by third baseman Jake Mahon scored Kaczmarski and Mahon eventually reached third base on a sacrifice bunt and another wild pitch from Strauss.

Evansville shortstop Eric Stamets singled to score Mahon and advanced to second base on a throwing error by WKU senior third baseman Casey Dykes.

The wild pitches and error allowed Evansville to plate two runs and take a 2-1 lead over the Toppers.

The fundamental issues continued in the top of the fourth inning when WKU freshman left-hander Ian Tompkins made his mound presence felt by issuing two walks and a hit batsmen to the first three batters he faced.

The Purple Aces were able to take advantage and tack on two more runs on an RBI groundout and an error by Tompkins.

Despite the sloppy play, the Toppers only trailed 4-2 after the fourth inning.

However, Myers said the team had no fight in them.

“They just walked on the field today and had their heads down from the sixth inning on,” Myers said. “I said from day one that’s the one thing I don’t want anyone to ever see in our program — our team to not play hard and fight and tonight they didn’t.”

The Toppers were unable to get on the board in the last five frames and Evansville tacked on more runs late to seal the game.

The Purple Aces scored one in the eighth inning on another wild pitch and two in the ninth inning on a two-RBI triple by catcher Chris Pearson to give them a comfortable 7-2 lead.

WKU senior designated hitter Jared Andreoli made his first start in four games coming off a hamstring injury and said this type of play won’t win many games.

“We’re not going to win games in the Sun Belt, we’re not going to win games against Evansville and we’re not going to win games against anybody playing like that,” Andreoli said. “That was just a bad performance hitting, defense, pitching — all three aspects of the game.”

Myers said he told the team that this one’s on them.

“They’ve got to take some responsibility for themselves,” Myers said. “When we put it together we’re a really good team and we’ve shown that. It’s the consistency part.”

The Toppers will be back in action this weekend in a three-game series against Western Illinois at Nick Denes Field.