Tops fall to Lipscomb, host Ohio this weekend

Redshirt Freshman pitcher Caleb Bruner (40) gets ready to throw the ball during the 10-4 loss against Lipscomb University on Tuesday Feb. 28, 2017 at Nick Denes Field.

Tyler Mansfield

After suffering a 2-1 defeat in its last series at home to Jacksonville State, the WKU baseball team looked to return to the win column on Tuesday afternoon against Lipscomb at Nick Denes Field.

Despite recording nine hits on the day, the Hilltoppers (3-5) didn’t have enough to escape with a victory over the Bison (6-2), who finished with 12 total hits and four multi-run innings to win 10-4.

Cade Sorrells went 3-of-5 on the day to go along with three RBI and a run while Josh Martinez also finished the game with a showing of 3-of-5, including two RBI’s and a run.

In its loss, WKU was led by Nathan Methvin, who racked up three hits on four at-bats to go along with an RBI and a run of his own. On the mound for the Toppers, Caleb Bruner gave up four hits and two runs in three innings pitched.

“It was rocky at first, but after I got through the first inning it got easier, that’s for sure,” Bruner said following the game. “But my arm felt great and I’m glad to be back contributing to the team.”

Lipscomb came out of the gates with much to display offensively, as in the top of the first inning Sorrells’ RBI single scored a pair of runners and gave it an early 2-0 lead over WKU.

Kevin Lambert grounded out to the shortstop in the bottom of the fourth, but the hit scored Thomas Peter to give Lambert an RBI and helped the Tops cut their deficit to just a lone run at 2-1.

“Our team has continued to work hard, and it won’t come easy,” Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “These guys have a good mindset, the right mentality, we just haven’t been able to put it together and play our best baseball yet.”

An RBI single into right field by Steven DiPuglia plated Methvin in the same inning to even the scoreboard, but the Bison responded by scoring five combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, to hold a 7-2 advantage. The score remained the same up until the eighth.

In that inning, Colie Currie hit an RBI double to score Peter, but Lipscomb fired back by adding a trio of runs to their scoreboard to give them a 10-3 lead. Methvin singled down the left field line in the bottom of the ninth to plate Steven Kraft, but it wouldn’t be enough, as WKU dropped its second-straight affair.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Toppers, as they travel to Lexington for a matchup with Southeastern Conference foe the University of Kentucky on Wednesday before hosting Ohio University in a three-game series this upcoming weekend.

As of publication time, WKU and UK hadn’t played.

OU (5-4) ventures into Bowling Green following a 12-6 home loss to Alabama State on Tuesday. It was a game in which starting right-handed pitcher Nick Kamrada pitched a scoreless two innings and allowed just one hit, but the Bobcats couldn’t overcome a 10-run inning by their opponent in the third.

The Mid-America Conference club squad is led by Nick Bredeson, who is batting .333 in the team’s nine games played so far on the 2017 campaign. Along with that number, Bredeson has hit a triple and two doubles to go along with three RBI.

On the mound for OU, Gerry Salisbury sports a 2.38 ERA and is 1-0. Salisbury has racked up 14 total strikeouts while giving up just seven hits in 11.1 innings pitched.

As for the Hilltoppers, Wyatt Featherston leads the way offensively with a .667 batting average, but just in three at bats. Featherston has recorded two RBI and has homered once in the four games he has appeared in.

On the bump for WKU, Kevin Elder sports a perfect ERA of 0.00 in four games played in. In the four appearances, Elder has recorded six strikeouts, walked no batters and only given up three hits in 6.1 total innings.

WKU and OU will begin the series on Friday at 3 p.m. and then meet again at 1 p.m. Saturday before concluding the slate on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Reporter Tyler Mansfield can be reached at 270-935-0007 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @RealTMansfield.