CEDAR CITY, Utah – With the mindset of winning each inning the Leathernecks have accomplished something that has been a long time coming. A 15-4 thrashing of Southern Utah on Saturday clinched the series victory for Western Illinois.
Alexander Zarate (2-4) matched his career best of seven punch outs, the junior struck out seven at home against Oral Roberts, on the afternoon.
Austin Cowen came to the plate with two on and drove a ground rule double into left center field to plate both runners. Igara also doubled and Cowen scored to increase the lead to 5-0.
Tariq Staton doubled home a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to get Southern Utah on the board.
John Koszulinski singled to start the fifth inning which would be the start of the end for the Thunderbirds. Bryan Jordan, Chris Giglio and Dispensa followed with singles. Dispensa’s hit drove in two runs. Cowen ripped a triple down the right field line to plate Giglio and Dispensa.
Southern Utah used three hits to score twice in the bottom of the fifth.
Tom Lilja started it all over again in the sixth with a single to left field. Koszulinski singled before Danny Marcuzzo doubled to plate Lilja. Jordan executed a sacrifice fly to perfection and allowed Koszulinski to score. Ryan Cowhey shredded a curve ball from Kolby Rimer and hit possibly the longest home run of the season for the Purple Army. The junior hit .571 during the series and finished the series with a 1.429 slugging percentage. After the top of the sixth, Western Illinois was cruising with a 13-3 lead.
Tyson Weber homered in the bottom of the sixth to delay the inevitable.
Cowen singled to fall just a home run shy of the cycle to start the top of the seventh inning. Igara collected another Leatherneck triple as he sent this one to right center and plated Cowen. Koszulinski doubled for his third of the afternoon and drove home the 15th run of the game for the Purple Army.
Garrett Bolt blew away the Thunderbirds for the final three outs and to end the series finale in seven innings.
Western Illinois hit .402 during the series including 15 extra base hits (seven doubles, five triples and three home runs). The Leathernecks outscored the Thunderbirds 44-17 and 40 of those runs were RBI.
Every Leatherneck hitter collected at least one hit and the 1-5 hitters combined to go 12-for-24 with 11 RBI and eight runs scored.
Cowen drove in four runs with his 3-for-5 performance and scored twice. Dispensa and Igara both collected three RBI with their two hits each. Cowhey drove in two with his big fly and also scored three times. Koszulinski, Jordan and Marcuzzo all drove in a run reach.
The road trip continues with two doubleheaders with IPFW in Fort Wayne, Ind. on Friday and Saturday.