MOBILE, Ala. - South Alabama evened its weekend series with the Western Kentucky University baseball team with a 4-1 victory over the Hilltoppers in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at Stanky Field.
WKU (21-29, 11-15 Sun Belt Conference) took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first before South Alabama (19-31, 13-13) rallied to score four unanswered runs.
Left-hander Tim Bado (4-6) was touched for four runs on six hits eight innings, his second complete game of the season. The junior walked two and struck out seven.
Jaguars starter Jarron Cito (7-4) limited the Hilltoppers to one run on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings. Reliever Kyle Bartsch retired six of the seven batters he faced in the final two innings, including striking out the side in the ninth, to earn his ninth save of the year.
Offensively, catcher Devin Kelly had the lone RBI for the Hilltoppers on a single in the first inning. Second baseman Ivan Hartle and first baseman Ryan Huck each tallied a hit while shortstop Scott Wilcox reached base twice, including a first-inning single that extended his hitting streak to a career-long 10 games. That is the longest streak of the season by a Hilltopper.
WKU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Kelly.
South Alabama tallied a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on a two-out, two-run single by shortstop Greg Odom to make the score 2-1.
The Jaguars added a run in the third on an RBI triple by center fielder Jordan Patterson.
A solo home run by South Alabama right fielder Nolan Early in the bottom of the eighth inning pushed the score to 4-1.
WKU will go for the series win in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. Hilltoppers sophomore right-hander Justin Hageman (3-5, 5.55 ERA) will take the mound against Jaguars junior right-hander Payton Gardner (0-5, 5.98).