Toppers look towards Sun Belt Tourney after 5-4 loss on senior day

Elliott Pratt

The WKU baseball team concluded its season in a fashion that left coach Matt Myers unpleased.

But in a game with no implications on the Sun Belt Conference Tournament seeding, Myers still found things he liked in the Toppers 5-4 loss to Georgia State Saturday for senior day.

“I felt good that we won the series, but I’m disappointed in the way that we played today,” Myers said. “There was a lot on the line for us – 30 wins in the regular season, 16 in the league and these six seniors.

“We had opportunities to expand this lead and that frustrating because I wanted to get this game bad today.”

The Toppers gave up a three-run double off Chad Prain in the ninth inning to give Georgia State a 5-2 lead.

David Simmons and Phillip Diedrick contributed singles in the bottom of the ninth to set up Hunter Wood with an RBI single.

Cody Wofford was then hit by Kevin Burgee’s pitch to load the bases. Before Scott Wilcox pulled the score within one run with an RBI sacrifice fly, but WKU couldn’t score another run to reach 30 wins in a season, something they haven’t done since 2011.

Despite the loss, WKU’s series win knocked Georgia State out of the SBC tournament next week in Mobile, Ala. WKU will play Texas State on Wednesday.

“I like our club,” Myers said. “If there were question marks on our pitching staff, I think this weekend against that office proved that we can do that. We pitched against (Louisiana) Lafayette real good. I don’t want to look past Texas State because they probably have the best weekend rotation in this league.

“I’m confident with our team. The later you get in the tournament the more the offense can come so we’re going to have to really pitch. We’ve showed in spurts how good we can be, we just have to be consistent.”

WKU senior pitchers Jake Thompson, Justin Hageman and Austin Clay, second baseman Scott Wilcox, and outfielders David Simmons and Regan Flaherty were honored before the game.

Thompson got a quality start with six innings pitched and gave up two earned runs on five hits and struck out four batters.

Cody Wofford started WKU out with a leadoff triple to set up Wilcox with an RBI groundout to give WKU the early 1-0 lead.

Chad Prain mimicked Wilcox with his own RBI groundout down the left side to score Trae Sweeting, tying the game at one run each in the third inning.

Then Chase Raffield hit an RBI double to score Chris Triplett, giving the Panthers their first of the day at 2-1.

Tate Glasscock entered the game in the sixth inning to relieve senior righty Jake Thompson, who recorded four strikeouts and gave up five hits in six innings pitched.

Regan Flaherty led the seventh inning off with a solo homerun tie the game at two runs apiece.

Flaherty finished the day 2-of-4 from the plate.

“I think we have the right ingredients to go down to the tournament and make a run and be successful,” Flaherty said. “We need to get the ball rolling and play our best ball at that time you never know what’s going to happen. I think it’s going to take timely hitting, pitching and defense to go down there and win that.”