Hilltoppers travel to Marshall for crucial conference series

Members of the WKU baseball team during their 6-5 win over Austin Peay Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at Nick Denes Field in Bowling Green, Ky. Mike Clark/HERALD

John Reecer

The Hilltopper baseball team (23-24) will travel to Huntington, West Virginia to play Marshall University (16-30) this weekend for what might be WKU’s most important series of the season. 

With a conference record of 9-15, the Hilltoppers are in a critical situation this weekend as the team is currently on the outside of the Conference-USA playoffs by just one game. Charlotte University is presently in eighth place and is the last team in the playoffs with 10 victories.

“We just got to keep playing hard,” said Head Coach Matt Myers It’s unfortunate we out played a lot of people and have not finished it lately. I expect this team to be ready Friday because they still know that their destiny is in their own hands. We will be ready to play, whether we will execute for a full nine innings is the big question.” 

WKU must walk away from the weekend with a series victory as their last conference series is against the No. 16 team in the country, Florida Atlantic.   

With so much at stake for WKU, the Thundering Herd will not back down from the challenge. Marshall is also battling for a spot in the conference playoffs, as they currently have eight conference wins.

The Thundering Herd own a less than impressive record, but within their 16 victories they field a series sweep of MTSU, who just recently swept WKU. 

“This is the hand we have been dealt, and we can’t do anything about that. Our goal is still the same as it was at the start of the season and that’s making the conference tournament,” junior pitcher John Harmon said. “We have a tough road ahead, but I firmly believe that we are more than capable of doing that.”  

For the Hilltoppers, a point of emphasis in the series will be stopping the Marshall combination of senior infielder T.J. Diffenderfer and junior pitcher Chase Boster. 

“They have really good starting pitching. Everyone in the league says that they have three really good arms that will give them a chance to win,” Myers said. “Our arms will have to match theirs so that our offense doesn’t feel the pressure because our offense is negated when we are behind.” 

Diffenderfer is the Thundering Herd’s best all-around hitter as he currently leads the team in RBI’s (28), home runs (4) and doubles (10) while also having a .304 batting average. Boster is Marshall’s best all-around pitcher as the right-hander is 5-1 on the season with a 2.59 ERA. 

However, WKU should have a large advantage at the plate in the series as the Hilltoppers field a team batting average of .277 compared to the .260 average of the Thundering Herd. Marshall also only has 19 team home runs on the season compared to the Hilltoppers 41. 

“We just have to flush out everything that has happened these past couple of weekends and just look at every game as opening day,” junior Anderson Miller said. “If we get into the tournament, we have a group of guys with our setup that can make a run.”