WKU baseball claims 2nd straight series win against visiting Wright State, moves to 5-2 in 2020

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 (5-2) snagged two wins against Wright State (2-5) over the weekend, but the Hilltoppers stumbled in the final game of a three-game home set for the second consecutive weekend, resulting in another 2-1 series win at Nick Denes Field.

WSU knocked off Power 5 Louisville (4-3), the current No. 3 team in the country, just two days prior to its trip to Bowling Green. The Raiders also managed to snap WKU’s three-game winning streak, a solid feat head coach John Pawlowski said WSU deserves credit for.

“You win two out of the three and you feel good about what you did,” head coach John Pawlowski said following the completion of the series on Sunday. “Although today didn’t go our way, give them credit. We have to get ready to play again on Tuesday, and the nature of this game is you play a lot of games. This game got away from us.”

GAME 1

Redshirt junior Michael Darrell-Hicks drew his second consecutive series-opening start against WSU. Darrell-Hicks pitched 4.1 innings for the Hilltoppers, walking five batters and fanning three while allowing two earned runs on three hits.

Neither team registered a hit through the first two frames, but Raider redshirt junior Quincy Hamilton broke the silence by reaching first base on a fielder’s choice in the third. Senior infielder Jack Wilson refrained from committing an error after he lost his footing.

The Hilltoppers struck first in the bottom of the fourth inning. Graduate infielder Davis Sims grounded out, but senior infielder Richard Constantine scored to put WKU ahead 1-0.

Redshirt sophomore Jake Kates relieved Darrell-Hicks in the fifth inning. The Raiders took a 2-1 lead after redshirt sophomore Gehrig Anglin tallied a two-RBI triple off Kates, but WKU rallied back and eventually added five unanswered runs to claim a 6-2 decision over WSU.

GAME 2

Junior Sean Bergeron slotted into the No. 2 position in the WKU rotation for the second straight series. Bergeron worked 6.0 innings for the Hilltoppers, picking up his first win after allowing six hits and one run with three strikeouts.

WSU tagged Bergeron for one run in the first inning after an Anglin RBI single, but WKU jumped in front at 4-1 by tallying four runs in the second. The Hilltoppers were silenced for a while, but WKU exploded for three additional runs in the eighth inning.

Sophomore Hunter Crosby closed the game for WKU, and although redshirt senior outfielder Alex Alders scored an unearned WSU run in the ninth, the Hilltoppers held on to secure a 7-2 win and the series victory.

Senior catcher Matt Phipps paced WKU, going 2 for 4 with three RBI and one run. He also caught a runner stealing for the third time this season.

“As a catcher — whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior — you’re kind of looked at as the quarterback on the field where you’re kind of directing traffic and letting everyone know how many outs there are,” Phipps said in a release. “Being a senior, and being a catcher, I feel it’s important for me to have a leadership role on this team.”

GAME 3

The Hilltoppers outscored the Raiders 13-4 through two games, but WKU was routed 9-5 in the series finale. Junior Aristotle Peter started the final game of the series for the Hilltoppers, giving up seven hits while fanning one batter in three innings of work.

WKU gained a 2-0 lead in the first frame, teasing a series sweep after Sims and Phipps both singled. WSU rallied in the second, hitting an infield single to make the score 2-1.

Peter, redshirt sophomore Mason Vinyard, junior pitcher Ryan Luckett, senior Jack Lambert, junior Dalton Shoemake and junior pitcher Connor Stephens all took the mound for WKU, but nobody wearing red had any answers for the hot-hitting Raider batters.

WSU scored six runs in the fourth and two runs in the eighth, eventually claiming a blowout win over the struggling Hilltoppers. WKU batters struck out eight times, while the Hilltopper pitching staff combined to allow 13 hits and nine runs.

UP NEXT

WKU will be back in action at home and on the road this week, hosting Austin Peay (3-4) on Tuesday and USC Upstate (6-1) for a three-game set on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Governors are located in Clarksville, Tennessee, while the aptly named Spartans call Spartanburg, South Carolina, their home.

First pitch against APSU is set for 3 p.m. at Nick Denes Field. The Hilltoppers and USC Upstate will get going at 3 p.m., 1 p.m. and noon, respectively, during WKU’s first weekend road swing of 2020.

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