WKU gives up five-run seventh inning, drops series finale

Southern Illinois first baseman Chris Serritella slides safely into home plate before WKU junior catcher Ryan Huck can field the throw from the outfield during the Toppers 8-3 loss on Sunday at Nick Denes Field.

Kurt Carson

The Toppers saw more of the same from their bullpen on Sunday.

WKU relievers faltered in the seventh inning, allowing five Southern Illinois runs to score on the way to a 8-3 Saluki win at Nick Denes Field.

With freshman right-hander Brennan Pearson on the mound for the Toppers to start the seventh inning, a walk and a single set up SIU (4-3) with a runner on first and second base with only one out.

Saluki junior right fielder Austin Montgomery singled home a run to give Southern Illinois a 4-2 lead.

WKU (2-5) elected to go to the bullpen, calling on junior right-hander Colton Satterlee to take over on the mound.

Satterlee gave up back-to-back singles that expanded the Salukis’ lead to 6-2. He proceeded to walk the bases loaded before being pulled from the game.

Pearson was charged with three runs in 1 1/3 innings of work while Satterlee allowed two runs without recording an out.

The five runs in the inning gave Southern Illinois a commanding 8-2 lead that would never be threatened.

“You can’t give up five-run innings late in the game and win,” Head Coach Matt Myers said.

The Toppers got off to a good start, scoring a run in each of the first two innings.

Senior center fielder Jared Andreoli led off the WKU first with a double before being pulled with a tight hamstring. Myers said Andreoli is fine but that coaches didn’t want to risk further injury.

After senior second baseman Ivan Hartle walked and freshman outfielder Matthew Paculan — pinch-running for Andreoli — advanced to third base on a wild pitch, junior catcher Ryan Huck grounded into a double play that scored a run and gave WKU an early 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Toppers scored to take a 2-0 lead on another out when senior third baseman Casey Dykes crossed the plate on a groundout by sophomore left fielder David Simmons.

However, WKU wasn’t able to manufacture any more runs and was held scoreless over the next six innings.

“There were twelve guys left on base,” Myers said. “You’ve got to have timely hitting.”

Junior shortstop Steve Hodgins said timely hitting is something they definitely have to improve upon.

“We came out with energy and got some runs on the board early but we just put up zeros there in the middle of the game and they had timely hits,” Hodgins said. “They outplayed us in the middle of the game. You just have to find ways to win games.”

Southern Illinois’ first baseman Chris Serritella hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Topper’s lead to 2-1.

Then in the top of the fifth inning Serritella hit a two-RBI single that gave the Saluki’s a 3-2 lead — a lead, with the help of a five-run seventh inning, they would never relinquish.

Junior left-hander Tim Bado made his first appearance for WKU, getting the start after coming off an injury dealing with tightness in his arm.

Bado pitched effectively, going five innings and giving up three runs on six hits and only two walks.

Most importantly Bado was able to throw strikes and collect six strikeouts after the pitching staff issued nine walks just the day before.

“I felt great,” Bado said. “The energy level really goes up when you throw strikes so that’s what I tried to do to give us a chance to win.”

Myers said yesterday that Bado would be on a pitch count of around 60 pitches but he ended up throwing 83 because he cruised through the first three innings with ease.

“You can see why I’m excited about Tim,” Myers said. “He’s a competitor.”

The Toppers will look to get back on track after two straight losses when they head to Murray State at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.