Hilltoppers outrun Murray State in midweek win

Right handed pitcher junior Eric Crawford (55) pitches the ball towards Northern Kentucky infield freshman Noah Fisher (12) during WKU’s 9-6 win against Northern Kentucky University on Friday, Feb 15 at Nick Denes Field.

Kaden Gaylord

WKU defeated the Murray State Racers 9-5 making this their sixth win of the season and third win by a margin of three runs or more.

“The biggest thing for us was for our guys to come out and stay focused and play with a lot of intensity and I thought we did,” head coach John Pawlowski said. “Right from the start of the game I thought they were locked in and we got some quality at-bats to start the game and I thought they carried that throughout the whole game.”

WKU (6-2) was looking to make a statement in their last home game before they travel to Florida to participate in the Cox Diamond Invitational. The Hilltoppers came out swinging early, gaining a 3-0 lead in the second inning that set the tone for the rest of the game.

Coming off their last game where they only managed five hits, with most coming when the game was already out of reach, the Hilltoppers made sure that wouldn’t happen again, acquiring 12 hits and putting enough runs on the board to clinch the game early.

WKU was up 6-1 heading into the 7th inning and eventually went on to score three more runs by the end of the game.

Murray State (2-6) put themselves at a disadvantage, commiting a total of four errors for the game and allowing three of those errors to lead to runs for the Hilltoppers. The Racers showed signs of life in the 9th inning, scoring three runs to bring the lead within five but it was too much for them to catch up.

The pitching effort by WKU freshman Hunter Crosby was far better than his first game. In five innings of play, Crosby only gave up three hits, one walk and one earned run with three strikeouts as he got his first win of the season in his second game pitching.

“My first start was nerve racking, I was really nervous but I just kind of got over it,” Crosby said. “This one I was a lot more confident.”


Graduate senior infielder Davis Sims played against his former team for the first time since transferring to WKU.

“During batting practice, I got to talk to a lot of the guys, it was good seeing them again. Sims said. “They were really welcoming of me when I was at Murray and it was just good seeing them again.”

Sims finished the game 1-for-5 with 2 RBI and made multiple defensive plays at first base off of bad throws.

Multiple Hilltoppers finished batted .500 or above for the game. Freshman centerfielder Jackson Swiney went 2-for-3 with one RBI, redshirt junior second baseman Sam McElreath went 2 for 4 with two RBI and one walk and after a slow start to the season and junior infielder Ray Zuberer III went 2 for 3 with two runs and two walks.

For their next games, WKU heads out to Pensacola, Florida where they’ll play three games in the Cox Diamond Invitational.

“I think the biggest thing is to see where we are,” Pawlowski said. “Every day we are trying to find a way to get better, to evaluate our team, our club,  and certainly it will be a good test for us down there.”

The first game is against North Florida on at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Baseball reporter Kaden Gaylord can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected].