WKU clinches first C-USA series, Marshall held winless in past 11

WKU pitcher Devyn Terbrak (43) pitching during against Marshall at Nick Denes Field on Apr. 10, 2021. 

WKU (15-16), (5-6, C-USA) hosted Marshall (4-18), (0-11, C-USA) at Nick Denes Field on a wet Saturday afternoon. WKU won the game 5-2 clinching their first C-USA series win of the season. 

“All of our infielders made some unbelievable plays,” head coach John Pawlowski said. “Solid defensive work by our team today. I was really proud of that also.” 

WKU’s junior Justin Carlin went 4-for-5 with two doubles along with two RBIs. 

“We’ve all been working very hard and so have I,” Carlin said. “I’ve had some frustrating weekends as well and once it all comes together, like in a game like that in all, we get to keep high and rolling.”     

Marshall junior Peter Hutzal went 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the top of the fifth inning.  

Sophomore Devyn Terbrak got the start for WKU. He tossed for a complete nine inning game, while tying a career high in strikeouts with seven. Terbrak is now 1-1 this season in six appearances. 

“I just seen how they swung at some pitches and I just threw pitches based on that and just record outs and got them out,” Terbrak said.     

In the first three games of the series each pitcher on the mound for the Hilltoppers have made it through the entirety of their respective starts. 

Marshall’s junior Raymond Pacella got the call to start. He pitched for five innings allowing four runs while picking up five strikeouts. Pacella is now 0-4 on the mound this season in six appearances. 

“I told our team I thought one of the biggest differences today was our defense,” head coach John Pawlowski said. “When you look at the way our defense played, Justin Carlin made a great play.” 

Marshall went three up and three down to start the game. In the bottom of the first frame, sophomore Matthew Meyer got the bats going for WKU with a lead-off double. Meyer then advanced to third base on a ground out. 

Carlin then batted Meyer in for the first run of the game with an RBI double. Carlin then scored on a sophomore Jackson Gray RBI single. After a single and hit by pitch, the bases were loaded for WKU with one out. Pacella then forced a double play to get out of the first frame. WKU led 2-0 after the first inning of play. 

After both teams had nothing to show for in the second frame, Hutzal got the first hit for Marshall on a lead-off single in the top of the third inning, but he did not score after freshman Josh Pigozzo grounded into a double play.    

In the bottom of the third inning, Carlin led-off with a single before he was thrown out trying to steal second base. Gray and sophomore Jackson Swiney singled, but were left stranded on first and second base after a Pacella strikeout. 

In the top of the fifth frame, junior Geordon Blanton reached first base on an error by senior Jack Wilson. Hutzal then batted in Blanton on an RBI double to cut the WKU lead to 2-1. WKU avoided another run when Carlin threw out Hutzal at home plate to end the top of the fifth frame. 

“That was a chance that kind of lined up perfectly and kind of gave a good throw and it worked out,” Carlin said. “It was a really cool moment. That was actually the first time I have ever gotten the chance to throw a runner out from the outfield, so I was really happy for it.”        

Senior Ray Zuberer III singled to lead-off the bottom of the fifth frame. After Gray walked, senior Richard Constantine extended the WKU on an RBI single to score Zuberer. Gray then stole third base and then scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-1 after five innings of play.

Freshman Ayden Hodges relieved Pacella for Marshall in the bottom of the sixth inning. After a walk and a hit by pitch, Carlin singled to extend the WKU lead 5-1. Hodges then walked Gray to load the bases for WKU, but Hodges got two consecutive outs to end the sixth frame. 

Marshall did not retaliate going three up and three down in the top of the seventh frame. Marshall then made another pitching change going to senior Josh Zeboskey. WKU went three up and three down to end the seventh inning. 

Both teams had nothing to show for in the eighth inning. Marshall went three up and three down while WKU left Carlin and Zuberer stranded on second and third base.

In the top of the ninth frame, Marshall tacked on one more run to make the score 5-2. Terbrak claimed his first career win as a Hilltopper.      

Up next WKU finishes their four game series against Marshall at Nick Denes Field on Sunday at 1 p.m.  

“You have great games, you have games where you just look at it and go wow that wasn’t us, but this team is really focused on the next task at hand,” Pawlowski said. 

Baseball beat reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Wyatt on Twitter at @WyattSparkman3