Offenses shine as WKU loses series to UAB

Lipscomb pitcher Dayton Tripp (4) pitches to junior WKU outfielder Colie Currie (3) during the Hilltoppers’ 10-4 loss to LU on Tuesday Feb. 28, 2017 at Nick Denes Field. Brendan O’Hern/HERALD.

Jeremy Chisenhall

WKU dropped its series against the Alabama Birmingham Blazers 2-1 last weekend in a series that featured an overload of runs.

At least one team scored five or more runs in every game, with WKU totaling 13 runs and UAB totaling 19 runs over the course of the series. For WKU, Thomas Peter and Hunter Wood had a great series, with Peter hitting two home runs, his second and third of the year, and Wood hitting one home run, his fourth of the year.

“I’m seeing signs in different areas that we’re getting better, but ultimately it’s the inconsistency,” Head Coach John Pawlowski said. “We swing the bats really well one day, next day we don’t, so we’re just really inconsistent right now.”

WKU started the series off with a 9-6 win over UAB on Saturday. Hunter Wood led the way, going 3-5 with a home run, two doubles and two RBI. Thomas Peter also made a significant contribution, going 2-4 and hitting a home run as well.

The two teams traded runs for most of the game, as UAB started off with a home run in the first inning by Brewer Hicklen. WKU answered back in the second, as Colie Currie hit a sacrifice fly and scored Nathan Methvin.

UAB pulled back ahead in the fourth when Tyler Tolbert singled to center and scored Stephen Dobbs, but WKU answered back with a two-run fourth inning thanks to RBI base hits from Currie and Steven DiPuglia.

WKU pulled further ahead when Wood and Peter both homered in the fifth inning, but UAB answered right back with two runs in the sixth.

A four-run seventh inning from WKU, including an RBI double from Wood, gave the Hilltoppers the advantage, and they kept it from then on.

Game two of Saturday’s double-header featured more explosive offense, but with the opposite result as UAB won 8-4.

Carter Pharis led the way for UAB with three RBI, meanwhile WKU’s Peter homered for the second straight game.

Pharis started off his three-RBI day in the first inning, as he grounded out to score Hicklen and give UAB a 1-0 lead.

WKU scored two in their half of the first, one on an RBI double from Peter, and one on an RBI double from Grayson Ivey.

In the third inning, UAB took the lead and kept it. The Blazers scored three runs that inning, as Pharis picked up his second of three RBI, and Hicklen smashed an RBI double to right field. Despite a home run from Peter in the fourth, the Blazers held the lead the rest of the way.

Game three was all about UAB’s offense and their starting pitcher Thomas Lowery, who threw a one-hit shutout complete game.

The game flew by, with the first four innings ending in about 30 minutes. No one scored until UAB put up one run in the fifth inning when Price Visintainer singled to third and scored Dobbs. The Blazers then busted the game open in the sixth, scoring four runs in the inning, including an RBI double from Pharis.

The game went scoreless the rest of the way, as WKU was shut down by Lowery, and UAB won 5-0 to win the series 2-1.

“We’ve got to be able to overcome one inning like that, from an offensive standpoint,” Pawlowski said of the sixth inning. “Give (Lowery) credit, he was outstanding.”

WKU will take on the Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday at the Bowling Green Hot Rods stadium. The two teams met earlier this year in a game that the Hilltoppers lost 17-2. After that, the Toppers will be on the road to play a weekend series against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

 Reporter Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 859-760-0198 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.