Monroe, La. — Both Western Kentucky University starter Bart Carter and Louisiana-Monroe hurler David Mixon dueled on the mound Sunday afternoon, but neither figured in the decision as a six-run inning eighth inning by the Warhawks gave them a 7-4 victory in the Sun Belt series finale.
The loss dropped WKU to 16-21 overall and 8-10 in the Sun Belt, while ULM improved to 25-17 and 13-7 in the league.
The Hilltoppers held a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the eighth as the Warhawks put two on with two out against reliever Colby Beach. Dexter Fontenot kept the inning alive as he reached on a Hilltopper error to load the bases, and A.J. Siggers made it a one-run game with an infield single. Ben Soignier gave ULM its first lead of the game with a two-run single, and Ty Rollinson delivered the big blow of the inning as he hit a three-run pinch-hit home run to left to make it a 7-3 game. All the runs scored by the Warhawks in the contest were unearned.
For the second straight game, WKU put a run on the board in the first inning as Scott Kaskie led off the game with a double, and moved to third on a single from Terrence Dayleg. Casey Hamilton then grounded into a double play, but Kaskie was able to come home to score the first run of the contest.
The Hilltoppers put together their best offensive inning of the game in the third, sending seven men to the plate. After a one-out double by Matt Payton, Kaskie reached on a throwing error to put to runners on. Dayleg then doubled to the gap in left-center, clearing the bases and giving WKU a 3-0 lead.
The Warhawks got their only run of the game off Carter in the bottom of the third. With one out and runners on first and second, Carter got Andy Jones hit a ground ball in the infield, but the throw to first on a potential inning-ending double play sailed high as Josh Morrison was able to score the unearned run.
Carter limited ULM to just one hit over the next three innings, but ran into trouble in the seventh when ULM put the first two men of the inning on base. Soignier attempted to move the runners over with a bunt, but Carter was able to get the lead runner at third for the first out of the inning. That ended the day for Carter, as Beach came in and retired the next two batters to keep it a one-run game at the time.
Following the six-running inning, WKU refused to go away quietly as Matt Hightower led off with a single, and a one-out single from J.B. Paxson put runners at first and second. One out later, Kaskie singled home Hightower to make it a 7-4 game, but Kyle Smith came out of the bullpen and got Terrence Dayleg to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Beach (3-2) suffered the loss as he allowed six unearned runs on three hits in 1.2 innings of relief, while Jared Jennings (4-1) earned the win in relief for ULM.
Carter got a no decision despite allowing just one unearned run on three hits over 6.1 innings. Mixon was equally impressive as he allowed just three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out seven in 7.0 innings for work.
Offensively, Kaskie and Dayleg each had two hits, with Dayleg driving home a team-high two runs. Siggers finished with two hits for ULM, with Rollinson driving in a game-high three runs with the pinch-hit homer.
WKU will return home Tuesday (April 25) when it hosts Austin Peay in a nonconference game at 6 p.m. (CDT) at Nick Denes Field.