WKU sweeps Illinois in Saturday double header

Elliott Pratt

Nick Denes Field is being kind to WKU in early three-game series this year, this time the victim was Illinois with the Toppers sweeping a Saturday double header.

The Toppers (9-5) rallied with three runs in the eighth inning of game one to win 4-3 and got an insurance run in the eighth inning to seal the series with a 5-3 win in game 2.

The eighth inning has been a thorn in the side for the Toppers in this early season.

“About the fifth inning or so, (coach Matt Myers) told us to turn the dial up,” left fielder Anderson Miller said. “From that sixth inning on, we tried to turn it up and have better defense, better focus, and it paid off.”

WKU saw production out of the bottom of its lineup with Miller scoring two runs in game two.

“We’ve gotten great production in the last six games from the bottom part of the lineup,” coach Matt Myers said. “They’ve really but our top in a position to score runs. It makes it very stressful on the pitchers and what you start seeing is mistakes, pitch counts go up, they’re getting in the bullpens early and it’s an advantage for us.”

Game 1 – WKU 4, Illinois 3

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning down 2-0, Thomas Peter hit a two-out RBI double to get the Toppers on the board.

Illinois grabbed another run in the top of the seventh before WKU went to work on with the bats in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Thomas Peter scored on a wild pitch from Ronnie Muck with no outs to cut the Illinois lead to 3-2. With David Simmons pinch running for Regan Flaherty, Muck threw another wild pitch to send Simmons home.

Still with no outs in the eighth, Miller took the lead for WKU with an RBI-single.

“I’ve been seeing the ball really well,” Miller said. “When we were down at East Carolina I was seeing the ball really well and I tried to carry that over into this week.”

Ian Tompkins came in to save the game with the last out after Brennan Pearson gave up a run in the ninth.

Game 2: WKU 5, Illinois 3

Thomas Peter got things started in the bottom of the first with a two run double to score Ryan Church and Philip Diedrick.

After an RBI sacrifice fly, David Kerian hit a two-run home run to take the lead for Illinois at 3-2 in the top of the third inning.

After Josh Bartley went through the order in the fifth inning, Regan Flaherty hit a two out RBI single to score Diedrick from second base.

Anderson Miller led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double that came just a few feet short of landing over the right field wall. Then Cody Wofford sent Miller home with an RBI single to take the lead for WKU, 4-3.

The Toppers got an insurance run in the eighth off a throwing error from Kerian to score Miller.

Justin Hageman closed out the last three innings only giving up one hit.

“The best thing I saw in the ninth inning was a really good sharp slider that we haven’t seen all year,” Myers said. “I’m excited for him for next week. He looked really good.”