JONESBORO, Ark. - Western Illinois baseball split a doubleheader against the Arkansas State Redwolves on Saturday (Feb. 23). The Leathernecks won game one by a score of 2-1, and fell in game two 6-3.
Western saw great pitching in game one of the doubleheader from a trio of pitchers. Nick Smith (1-1) started the game for the Purple & Gold. The sophomore threw five innings, striking out five while only allowing three hits and one run on his way to the victory.
Aaron Michel threw two innings for the Leathernecks, striking out one while not allowing a hit. Brian Loconsole picked up his second save of the young season in the game. The senior righty threw 1 1/3 innings, giving up only one hit.
Offensively, the Leathernecks got things started off in the first inning. Senior Dan Dispensa singled in his first at bat of the game, and then stole second base. Two batters late Steve Kedroski came up to the plate and singled up the middle scoring Dispensa.
Arkansas State would score its lone run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Claude Johnson singled to centerfield for the Red Wolves, scoring Zach George.
John Koch (0-1) took the loss for Arkansas State in game one. The righty gave up two runs in seven innings on the mound while striking out seven. In total the Leathernecks had seven hits in the contest, led by Dan Dispensa with two.
The Leathernecks got the scoring started in the first inning during the second game of the doubleheader. Dan Dispensa singled once again in his first at bat of game two. The senior would advance all the way to third on an attempted pick off by pitcher Daniel Wright, and then would score on a Jameson Henning ground out.
Arkansas State put up three runs in the bottom of the first inning, which would hold the entire contest. The Red Wolves got a leadoff triple from Austin Baker, and doubles from both Logan Uxa and Ryan Emery in the inning.
Western would get on the board again in the fourth inning after a Dan Dispensa triple to dead center field to lead off the inning. The triple, which is the ninth of Dispensa's career, moved him into 10th place on the all-time triples list at Western Illinois. Dispensa would score in the inning after a Jameson Henning ground out.
The Leathernecks would get their final run of the game in the fifth inning. After a JP Maestas single to left field, Neil DeCook hit a double to the right field wall, scoring Maestas from first. The double by DeCook was the first hit of his Leatherneck career.
Sophomore Tyler Willman (0-2) took the loss for the Leathernecks in the game. The righty threw four innings, striking out four while giving up three earned runs. John White also threw four innings for the Purple & Gold, striking out four while allowing four hits and one run.
Daniel Wright (2-0) got the win for Arkansas State. The senior struck out eight in seven innings while allowing six hits.
The Leathernecks and Red Wolves will play the final game of the three-game series tomorrow afternoon (Feb. 24). First pitch is set for 1 p.m., with Mason Pingel getting the start for Western Illinois. Adam Grantham is slated to start for Arkansas State.