Head Coach Chris Finwood let his team know he was displeased after thee Toppers’ loss to Florida International on Friday, but the players turned around two days later, and Finwood formed a different opinion.
Western (30-14, 11-7 Sun Belt Conference) won both games of a Sunday doubleheader over Florida International in dramatic fashion, making it 17 straight home weekend series wins.
“I told the guys, ‘As mad as I was at you on Friday, I’m that proud of you today,’” Finwood said.
In game one, the two teams played close throughout the game and went into the ninth inning tied at four. Junior outfielder Monte Ketchum entered the game as a pinch hitter with two outs and the bases loaded. He crushed a ball just shy of the foul pole for a walk-off grand slam and an 8-4 win for the Toppers.
“That was a lot of fun,” Ketchum said. “I knew I was going to get up in the end, so I said a little prayer and got in there and saw a good pitch.”
Senior Shane Cameron struck out eight batters in his 6.1 innings of work, and senior Bart Carter pitched the final 1.2 innings to get the win.
In the second game, Western had difficulty putting runs on the board. Junior Brian Edelen only allowed one earned run in 5.1 innings but left the game with the Toppers trailing 2-1. It was not until the seventh inning when Western’s bats came to life.
Ketchum grounded out with the bases loaded to tie the game at two. At that point, Western was 0-9 with runners in scoring position, but that changed two batters later when senior first baseman Jake Wells drove in two runs with a single. After a pitching change, sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins hit a three-run home run to put the game out of reach, as the Toppers went on to win 8-3
“We were waiting on that one big inning, and hopefully we can build on that,” Wells said.
Finwood said Edelen did a good job of keeping Western in the game.
“He had a heck of a week,” Finwood said. “Five great innings against UK, and in a must-win game today he gave us 5.1 innings against a good ball club.”
Sophomore Rye Davis earned the win as he pitched the final 2.1 innings. The game ended in eight innings due to traveling conflicts with Florida International.
Wells said it was very important to get the two wins today to win the series.
“We knew we were going to come back and we knew we had to come back and get the two wins,” Wells said.