Hilltoppers defeat FAU to win third C-USA series

Pitcher Tate Glasscock, #34, throws a pitch during a baseball game against UK on March 24, 2015 at Hot Rod Stadium in Bowling Green. WKU won the game with a final score of 12-3. Emily Kask/HERALD

John Reecer

After dropping the first game of last weekend’s series in Ruston, Louisiana, the Hilltoppers (15-14) won both games of their doubleheader on Saturday to bring their conference record to 6-6. 

The series got off to a nightmarish start for WKU as Louisiana Tech (13-15) defeated the Hilltoppers 20-1. 

However, WKU tied the series up with a 15-6 win in game two, and a 3-1 victory in game three behind senior first baseman Ryan Church’s deciding score in extra innings. 

As senior shortstop Cody Wofford lined out to third base, the Bulldog third baseman threw to first base to try and create a double play. Church saw the opportunity and scored the winning run as the Bulldog catcher dropped the ball trying to tag Church out.  

“I knew I had to do something to help this team win,” Church said. “I had to do something to get one that maybe we did not deserve to win because our offense was not good today. I did my best to make something happen and the baseball gods were on my side for sure.”   

The wins on Saturday not only nabbed the Hilltoppers the series, but they also helped to put the 20-1 blowout behind them. The Bulldog’s 19 run victory proved to be the worst conference lost in school history for the WKU baseball program. 

Louisiana Tech jumped on the Hilltoppers early as the Bulldogs scored 11 runs in the second and third innings.  The Hilltoppers would go on to give up season-highs in runs (20) and hits (18) allowed. 

However, WKU would out-hit the Bulldogs 22-6 and outscore them 16-1 over the series’ final 16 innings to come back and claim their third C-USA series win.

After giving up season highs in runs and hits the first game of the series, the Hilltoppers scored a season-high 15 runs on a season-best 19 hits to even the series in game two. Early mistakes caused the Bulldogs to jump out to a 6-2 lead. Nevertheless,  it was all WKU as the Hilltoppers scored 13 unanswered runs and only allowed one Bulldog hit over the final six innings to win 15-6.

Church led the way for WKU, hitting five RBI off four hits, both career highs. 

Junior outfielder Anderson Miller also enjoyed a good day as he recorded two hits, two RBI, three runs scored and his eighth home run on the season. 

Game three would prove to be a much closer matchup as starting pitchers for both teams combined to allow only one run off six hits in their respective starts. 

Junior pitcher Austin King put together one the best starts of his Hilltopper career by striking out four and only allowing three hits in six innings of scoreless pitching. 

After Church’s run to take the lead, sophomore outfielder Hunter Wood provided an insurance run in the tenth inning off a double which scored sophomore outfielder Paul Murray and the final run of the game as the Hilltoppers won 3-1. 

“Double-headers are what we do,” Church said. “We get it done in double headers every time.” 

The Hilltoppers will return home Tuesday night to face the Bowling Green Hot Rods in an exhibition at Bowling Green Ballpark before hosting Southern Miss at Nick Denes Field next weekend.