MOBILE, Ala. – After scoring five runs in the sixth inning to win Friday’s game against South Alabama, WKU surrendered four runs in the sixth inning on Saturday as the Jaguars knotted the Sun Belt Conference series with a game-two win, 6-3.
WKU put six runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings, but could only plate a pair in its rally attempt. Senior second baseman Steve Hodgins posted his second-straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 in the game, including a two-run single in the eighth inning. Jordan Cessna also finished the game with a pair of hits.
A PDF box score is attached.
South Alabama served up its damage in the sixth inning just as WKU did Friday, plating four in the frame to extend its lead to 5-1. After the Hilltoppers rallied to cut it to 5-3 on Hodgins’ two-run single, the Jaguars responded with a crucial insurance to extend their advantage to 6-3.
WKU had its opportunity to strike back in the seventh inning with the bases loaded for the Sun Belt’s home run leader Ryan Huck, but his shot to right center was just short of the fence as South Alabama caught the ball to end the inning undamaged.
WKU did strike the game’s first blow in the fourth inning when Regan Flaherty punched an RBI-single through the right side to score Blake Crabtree. WKU’s loss was just the third this season when scoring the game’s first run.
Andrew Edwards was effective in his ninth start of the season, striking out five batters and surrendering one run in 3.1 innings of work. Edwards ran into trouble in the second and third innings with runners in scoring position, but back-to-back strikeouts in the second and an inning-ending double-play in the third left WKU unscathed. The Jaguars finally delivered in the fourth on an RBI-single from Hayden Jones to knot the score at 1-1.
Left-handed pitcher Austin Clay (1-2) took the loss but was solid in his relief role behind Edwards, working 4.1 innings, striking out four batters and scattering seven hits. WKU’s defense was error-less on the evening and turned three double plays, giving them six double plays during the series.
WKU’s loss moves them back into a three-way tie for the Sun Belt Conference lead at 11-6 with South Alabama and Florida Atlantic. The Hilltoppers will try and take the series from the Jaguars in Sunday’s rubber match, slated for 1 p.m. (CT).