Hilltoppers set to wrap up hot-and-cold season

John Reecer

The Hilltoppers sit at 9-15 in conference play with only two three-game series’ against Marshall and Florida Atlantic left in their inaugural C-USA season.  

Despite the losing record in league play, WKU owns victories over conference foes LA Tech, Old Dominion, FIU and UTSA. However, inconsistent play continues to plague the team as MTSU, UAB and Rice all completed series sweeps against the Hilltoppers. 

“It’s been a good league this season. I wish we could’ve finished some of these games off because we are definitely a 12-15 win team in this league,” Head Coach Matt Myers said. “The biggest difference that I have seen between the conferences is that the depth of the pitching staffs and rotations are all really quality.”

In their conference series against LA Tech, the Bulldogs blew out WKU in the first game by a score of 20-1. Nevertheless, in under 24 hours the Hilltoppers returned the favor and blew out the Bulldogs 15-6 in game two.  

Junior outfielder Anderson Miller continues to prove to be one of the bright spots on the season for WKU. Miller is currently second in Conference -USA in home runs (12) and runs (43), all while sporting a  .310 batting average on the season. 

“Every day we are just trying to get to 1-0 at this point,” Miller said. “We just have to flush out everything that has happened these past couple of weekends and just look at every game as opening day.”

One of the main problems for the Hilltoppers in conference play proves to be the play on the mound. WKU possesses a team ERA of 4.65 as junior Josh Bartley is the only pitcher on the team with at least 40 innings pitched and a winning record (5-4). 

The quality of play at home during conference play continues to be an area of concern for the Hilltoppers as nine of the team’s 15 conference losses occurred at Nick Denes Field this season.   

With only six conference games left, the Hilltoppers cannot afford to walk away with a losing record as they sit outside the conference playoffs. 

“Everyone knows what’s going on so I’m not trying to increase the tension and pressure of these next couple of weeks,” Myers said. “I don’t want our senior Saturday to be just our senior Saturday. I want it to be a game that we need to win to get into the tournament.”

Winning the C-USA tournament will be the only that WKU will earn a spot in the NCAA tournament considering that the team’s RPI presently stands at 93rd in the nation. 

The change from the Sun Belt to C-USA could’ve been a lot smoother for the Hilltoppers, but WKU has shown enough flashes of talent in its inaugural season in the conference to prove its worth. Only time will tell if the Hilltoppers can turn into one of the leaders of the conference year in and year out.