WKU baseball drops home tilt against red-hot Belmont despite Davis Sims’ career day at the plate

WKU’s Davis Sims (10) rounds second base against Wright State on Feb. 22, 2020 at Nick Denes field. WKU won 7-2.

Nick Kieser

The WKU baseball team (8-4) hosted Belmont (10-3) for its third midweek game of the 2020 season on Tuesday, and the Hilltoppers lost to the Bruins in a 9-7 decision at Nick Denes Field.

Prior to Tuesday, WKU and Belmont had met 50 times in program history. The Hilltoppers owned a slight 26-24 edge in the all-time series against the Bruins, collecting victories in each of the past five matchups between the two programs.

Graduate infielder Davis Sims recorded a career-high four hits and five RBIs in WKU’s latest meeting with the Bruins, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to claim a back-and-forth battle.

“When you lose a game, no matter what sport, it is always difficult because you focus so much on what went wrong or what you have to do better,” head coach John Pawlowski said in a release. “But there were still a lot of positives in this game. We put a number of different pitchers in the game today; some guys that hadn’t been in there quite as much. We gave them opportunities.”

The Hilltoppers deployed seven different pitchers on the mound, with the group combining to allow nine runs and 16 hits while striking out 10 batters.

Senior pitcher Max Marcotte (1-0) collected his first win of the year for Belmont, while junior pitcher Kyle Brennan (3) got his third save of 2020 for the Bruins.

Sophomore pitcher Hunter Crosby (0-1) took a loss after 0.2 innings of work for the Hilltoppers, yielding three runs on three hits while striking out two batters.

WKU collected 11 hits in the game, led by Sims’ big day. The Paducah native produced a 4 for 5 performance at the plate while adding five RBIs, two doubles and a two-run home run.

“I felt good at the plate today,” Sims said in a release. “I’m starting to see the ball really well. This past weekend I hit a home run and I carried it into today, so I’m feeling pretty good at the plate right now.”

Freshman infielder Eric Riffe also recorded a multi-hit effort in the contest, hitting 2 for 5 to go along with one run for WKU.

The Hilltoppers opened the scoring, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning following a two-RBI double down the right field line by Sims.

Belmont responded in the second inning, as junior infielder Logan Jarvis hit a solo home run hit to cut the Bruin deficit to 2-1.

The Bruins took its first lead of the game in the top of the third, using a two-run homer from senior outfielder Hagan Severance and an RBI-single from Jarvis to make it 4-2.

Sims cut the Belmont lead in half in the bottom of the inning, roping an RBI-double down the left field line to plate sophomore outfielder Jackson Swiney and make the score 4-3.

Belmont extended its lead with two more runs in the fourth frame, scoring on a wild pitch and using an RBI-single up the middle from sophomore outfielder John Behrends to take a 6-3 advantage over the Hilltoppers.

Sims continued his hot day in the bottom of the fifth, blasting a two-run homer over the left field wall to put the score at 6-5.

The Hilltoppers jumped ahead in the sixth inning, as RBI-doubles from senior infielder Jack Wilson and senior infielder Richard Constantine gave WKU a 7-6 lead.

Later, the Bruins put together a three-run inning in the top of the eighth. The scoring outburst gave Belmont a 9-7 lead and allowed the Bruins to earn the eventual win.

UP NEXT

WKU will be back in action at Nick Denes Field later this week, hosting Power 5 Purdue (6-4) for a three-game set on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Purdue is on a three-game losing streak after squaring off with three ranked opponents in the Cambria College Classic — No. 14 Duke, No, 8 NC State and No. 23 North Carolina.

The Boilermakers will have one more chance to get back into the win column before their trip to Bowling Green, as they’ll travel to meet Big Ten rival Indiana on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

“Junior Coleman had his first start at center field [against Belmont],” Pawlowski said in a release. “Some other guys had an opportunity to get in there and hopefully they’ll use that experience as we progress forward. We have a big challenge coming up this weekend with Purdue coming in here.”

WKU and Purdue will get going at 3 p.m., 1 p.m., and 1 p.m., respectively, across the weekend series.

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