Bergeron strikes out career-high 10 batters in extra-innings loss to Valpo
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Western Kentucky Baseball dropped game two in its series against Valparaiso, 8-6, in an extra-innings affair on Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field.
After digging themselves into an early 4-0 hole in the first frame, the Hilltoppers fought back to tie the score at 6-6 after eight innings, but two runs by Valpo in the 11th frame eventually decided the game.
“I thought our club did an outstanding job of getting back in the ball game,” said head coach John Pawlowski. “We were down 4-0 in the first inning and Sean [Bergeron] just kept battling to stay in the game. He had one walk and 10 strikeouts, so I thought he did an outstanding job.
“We got it within striking distance, tied it up, and then yeah you cannot give a team five outs [with two errors in the top of the 11th inning]. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, the chances of you getting out of that are going to be difficult.”
Sean Bergeron earned the starting nod in his fifth appearance of the season, striking out a career-high 10 batters while allowing five runs in 5.0 frames. Seven Hilltopper pitchers made relief appearances in the game, with the group combining to allow just one earned run while recording five strikeouts.
With 15 strikeouts and two walks in the contest, the Hilltopper pitching staff has now recorded 44 strikeouts to just four walks over the past three games.
At the plate, WKU racked up 12 hits on the day, with three players producing multi-hit efforts. Matthew Meyer led the way with a 4-for-6 performance while collecting three doubles, marking the first time a Hilltopper has recorded three doubles in a game since March 24, 2018, when Colie Currie accomplished the feat against Rice. Jackson Swiney went 3-for-5 in the matchup to go along with two runs, while Jackson Gray added two hits in the contest.
Valparaiso broke the game open in the first frame with four runs off a two-RBI double to right field and two-RBI single to left field.
Ray Zuberer III gave WKU its first run of the game with an RBI-groundout to shortstop in the third inning, scoring Meyer to make it 4-1.
Valpo extended its lead in the fifth frame, sending an RBI-single up the middle to put the score at 5-1.
Zuberer recorded his team-high 22nd RBI of the game in the bottom of the inning, ripping an RBI-double to right field to cut into Valparaiso’s lead.
The Hilltoppers then tied the game in the sixth frame, with a two-RBI double by Ty Crittenberger and RBI-double by Meyer evening the score at 5-5.
Valpo answered back in the top of the seventh, using a solo shot over the center field wall to regain its lead.
WKU again tied things up in the eighth inning, with Swiney scoring from third on a wild pitch to make it 6-6.
After two batters got on base via error to open the top of the 11th, an RBI-single through the left side and sac fly to left field led to the 8-6 win for Valparaiso.
The Hilltoppers will close out their series against Valpo at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday, March 21 at Nick Denes Field.
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