Toppers prepare for Kentucky show down

Shortstop Cody Wofford makes a throw on the run during the team’s 4-3 victory over Illinois in the first game Saturday. The Hilltoppers won both games of the double header. (Austin Anthony/HERALD)

Billy Rutledge

The weekend was the first Sun Belt Conference action for the Toppers (12-8) this year and improved their road record to 3-6 while the team is 8-1 at home.

WKU suffered a 6-5 loss the first night to the Panthers, but the Toppers were able to win both games of a double header the following day, marking the second time the team has won both games of a double header this year. All games against Georgia State were one-run games, and the other two WKU managed to win 4-3 and 6-5 (10).

“I think our guys responded unbelievably,” Coach Matt Myers said. “To be down one game already and not playing well before and for our guys to respond like they did. They played tough, grinded it out and I’m very proud of them.

“The team was challenged Friday night by me and themselves to play tougher and that is exactly what they did,” he added.

Next up on Tuesday, WKU will play Kentucky Wildcats. The previous time these two met, a battle commenced as the teams went 18 innings and ended in a walk-off home run by now-sophomore Trevor Lowe. WKU swept the season series with Kentucky last year and has won six of the last seven since losing three straight from 2007-08.

The six-hour thriller was a defining moment for the Toppers last season, and Myers is hoping for the same result this season.

“I expect both teams to get at each other,” Myers said. “They know what we have done with them recently winning six of the last seven games they would want nothing more than to beat us Tuesday.”

The No. 20 Wildcats are fueled by their offense by averaging 10 runs per game.

Kentucky (14-6), much like WKU, plays well at home, sporting an 8-1 record in Lexington this season. WKU will have to slow down junior first baseman A.J. Reed, who was first-team All-SEC designated hitter in 2013 and named NCAA Player of the Week on Feb. 25. The opening pitch will be thrown Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Lexington.