BASEBALL: Western beats South Alabama

Amber North

Senior designated hitter Cary Page was ready.

The Hilltoppers (20-20, 5-7 Sun Belt Conference) were down 2-0 against South Alabama (17-19, 6-3 SBC) Sunday afternoon. Then Page smacked his fourth bomb of the season over the left wall in the second inning.

Once the game was tied at 5-5 in the fifth inning, Page did it again. He went the opposite direction and hit a long ball over the right wall, pushing the lead to 7-5.

“Not only is hitting a home run run-productive, but it is also a morale booster when a player goes yard more than once in a game,” coach Joel Murrie said.

The senior designated hitter played three previous seasons at Morehead State before injuring himself in the 2003 season. He transferred to Western this year.

“I’ve been struggling this year,” Page said. “I had a great junior season at Morehead. I probably am putting a lot a pressure on myself because I feel that I should be leading this team.”

The Toppers went on to win the game 9-6, putting them back at .500.

The Toppers have struggled in the field, but Murrie isn’t overly worried.

“One game doesn’t make you bad in fielding nor does it bring you back to where you were at,” Murrie said.

Murrie also said that the problem of having an erratic defense is that the young pitching staff has more pressure put on them.

The other two games in the series weren’t as bright as Sunday’s. Friday the Toppers scored one run in the game, thanks to senior second baseman Matt Johnston’s RBI groundout in the seventh.

Saturday’s game was a different story, though.

Western led throughout the game until the ninth inning. The Jaguars decided to wake up from the 6-5 deficit and scored two runs to seal the victory 7-6.

“Just like against Lafayette, it was the best we could’ve done in the series,” Murrie said. “We gave away games that we should’ve won, and we’ve done that too many times this year.”

Due to a scheduling conflict, the Murray State game that was supposed to take place today at Denes Field has been canceled.

Next up for the Hilltoppers is No. 22 Vanderbilt. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow at Denes Field.

Vanderbilt is 26-10 amd led by sophomore shortstop Warner Jones, who is hitting .449 on the season. The power in the lineup is provided by senior first baseman Cesar Nicolas who has hit nine home runs this season.

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