WKU sophomore outfielder Anderson Miller said coach Matt Myers told the team before their final home series that if they got to seven runs, the odds would be in their favor.
The Toppers got that lucky seven, plus some.
WKU needed one win to clinch the fifth seed in the Sun Belt Conference after dropping four straight. The Toppers earned a convincing 10-1 win over Georgia State Thursday night at Nick Denes Field to secure their fifth place spot in the conference.
Senior right handed pitcher Justin Hageman earned a quality start for the Toppers (28-25, 14-14 SBC) in his final game at the Nick in 6.2 innings pitched with seven hits, one earned run and six strikeouts.
“I didn’t think I was going to make it through the day knowing that this was going to be my last pitches out there, but I’m glad it turned out the way it did. We played real well,” Hageman said.
Hageman (6-2) finishes the regular season having pitched 88.2 innings in 14 appearances with 83 hits and 28 earned runs.
Senior Scott Wilcox, who had two hits and scored three runs in the win, moved into 10th in WKU history with 232 career hits.
WKU got the bats going quick with two runs in the bottom of the first inning when Wilcox scored off an Anderson Miller RBI. Regan Flaherty hit an RBI sacrifice fly down center field to score Ryan Church.
Georgia State’s only run came in the top of the fifth when Chase Raffield hit an RBI single down right field to score Chad Prain.
WKU’s offense thrived in the fifth inning with a four run, seven hit outing. Anderson Miller and Regan Flaherty had back-to-back RBIs – Flaherty’s a two-run RBI thanks in part to a E3 throwing error. Ryan Mesex added his own bases loaded RBI single to round out the inning with a 6-1 lead.
Miller added another RBI double in the sixth to score Wilcox to extend the WKU lead to 7-1.
Miller finished with three RBIs in five appearances at the plate.
“Our main goal was to win for the seniors this weekend,” Miller said. “We wanted to come out and get a good start and try to get something going before we go into the conference tournament.”
David Simmons showed off his speed in the seventh by stealing second and third base, then scoring on an E2 throwing error.
Sam Higgs entered the mound in the eighth and struck out the side to carry the Toppers into the bottom of the eighth with an 8-1 lead.
An RBI double by Ryan Church scored Wilcox to make it 9-1 WKU in the eighth. After Miller struck out, Flaherty scored Church on an RBI single to right field for the final score of 10-1.