WKU baseball surrenders 10 runs, falls to Kentucky

The Kentucky bullpen cheers after a home run against WKU on April 23 in Bowling Green Ballpark. UK won the game 15-4.

Nick Kieser

The WKU baseball team (10-6) traveled to Power 5 Kentucky (11-6) for its fourth midweek game of the 2020 season on Tuesday, and the Hilltoppers fell in a 10-4 decision at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington.

“During our 16 non-conference games we’ve tried to put our team in positions to go on the road and play in some different environments,” head coach John Pawlowski said in a release. “I like where we’re at. I like the approach that these guys have — the right mindset. It’s going to be a challenge, we know that, but I certainly feel like this group is up to that challenge.”

The Hilltoppers utilized eight different pitchers in the matchup, with the group combining to allow 15 hits and 10 runs while striking out nine batters.

WKU collected eight hits, with all coming from four players. Senior outfielder Ray Zuberer III went 2 for 4 in the game to go along with three RBIs and two runs, while graduate infielder Davis Sims hit 2 for 4 and added one RBI. Senior catcher Matt Phipps produced a 2 for 3 effort, with senior infielder Richard Constantine rounding out the multi-hit group with a 2 for 5 performance.

Junior Aristotle Peter took the mound for his fourth start of the season. Peter picked up his second loss of the season, tossing for 3.2 innings while allowing six hits, four runs and striking out five Wildcat batters.

Sophomore Dillon Marsh made his fourth start for Kentucky. Marsh picked up his second win of the season, tossing for 6.1 innings while allowing six hits, two runs and striking out six WKU batters. 

Constantine slashed for a double down the left field line for the first hit of the game. Sims grounded into a double play, squandering an early opportunity for WKU to take the lead in the first frame of play. 

Kentucky scored the first run of the game following two scoreless innings. Freshman outfielder John Rhodes singled to left field, scoring freshman infielder Chase Estep to put the Wildcats up 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning. 

Zuberer III replied in the fourth, hitting a two-run home run over the right field wall to give the Hilltoppers a 2-1 lead. Prior to the shot, Constantine got on base with a double down the left field line.

Estep came up to the plate in the bottom of the fourth, hitting a sacrifice fly out to right field. Kentucky junior outfielder Oraj Anu scored from third base to knot the game up 2-2 with two outs remaining. 

Senior outfielder Breydon Daniel batted in two runs to reclaim a 4-2 Kentucky lead over the Hilltoppers. Pawlowski replaced Peter on the mound following the scoring play. 

Redshirt sophomore Mason Vinyard came into the game for his fourth appearance of the season. Vinyard struck out senior outfielder Jaren Shelby to retire the fourth frame. 

Vinyard was relieved after pitching 1.2 innings while allowing three hits and fanning one Kentucky batter. Sophomore Hunter Crosby came on for the fifth time this season. 

Crosby gave up a hit to center field on his fifth pitch, allowing redshirt senior Zeke Lewis to extend the Kentucky lead to 5-2 over the Hilltoppers. 

Rhodes scored two more runs off a double to right center field to make it 7-2 Kentucky. Redshirt junior Bailey Sutton came in for Crosby after getting one out on the mound. 

Sutton’s sixth appearance on the mound started with a strikeout to get out of the sixth. The Hilltoppers allowed three runs and four hits before Sutton came in to pitch.

Kentucky pulled Marsh out of the game in the top of the seventh inning. Freshman Cole Stupp made his sixth appearance of the season on the mound. 

Junior Connor Stephens came in the game for Sutton at the bottom of the seventh. Stephens got 0.2 innings of work in before the fifth WKU pitcher of the day was called upon.

Junior Logan Sabo came in for his third appearance of the season with one out to deal before heading into the eighth inning of the game. 

Daniel hit a base-clearing double down the left field line, continuing the Wildcats’ offensive outburst to make the score 10-2 Kentucky. Sabo was dismissed for freshman Dalton Mesaris, who made his fourth appearance of the season. 

Zuberer III added his third RBI of the day, scoring senior infielder Jack Wilson after being hit by a pitch to make the score 10-3. Sims then singled to center field, scoring Zuberer III to cut the WKU deficit to 10-4. 

The final pitching change of the game came in the bottom of the eighth inning. Freshman Lane Diuguid made his second appearance of the season after Mesaris tossed eight pitches, allowing one hit and achieving one out. 

WKU was unable to score any runs in the final frame of play. The Hilltoppers were defeated by six runs, dropping back-to-back contests for the first time this season.

UP NEXT

WKU will be back in action on the road later this week, heading to Birmingham, Alabama, for its first Conference USA series against Alabama-Birmingham (7-9) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Hilltoppers and UAB will get going at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, across the weekend during WKU’s first three-game set against a league opponent in 2020.

Reporter Nick Kieser can be reached at [email protected] Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.