Toppers tame Bulldogs for series sweep

WKU Senior Infielder misses hitting the ball during the University of North Carolina vs WKU game at Nick Denes field on Sunday.

Billy Rutledge

For the first time this season, the WKU baseball team has swept a weekend series. In only their second series this year, the Toppers were able to handle UNC Asheville easily on their final game Sunday winning 13-2. The first two games of the series consisted of high drama in late innings, but Sunday was more about consistent and explosive offense.

The middle innings produced the most damage by WKU.

In the fifth inning, already leading 2-1, a leadoff bunt by senior Cody Wofford allowed junior Ryan Church to step up to the plate and hit a towering home run to left-center.

 The depth of the WKU lineup continued to show as the back end of the batting order started to put numbers on the board. A single by the seventh sophomore Anderson Miller scored one and a double by the eighth hitter junior Ty Downing brought in two more.

After five runs on five hits in the fifth inning, the Toppers almost did the exact same thing in the sixth.

Wofford again started out the inning with a leadoff single, and ended the game going 4-for-5 and acquiring his first multi-hit game of his career.

After a single by senior Scott Wilcox, Church was up and once again he delivered. A single up the middle scored a run and gave Church his fourth RBI of the game.

The Toppers bench was next to shine as later in the inning pinch hitter freshman Paul Murray had a two run single and senior David Simmons came in and delivered another double for the team. When the inning finally ended, WKU had scored four runs on four hits.

“The bottom part of our lineup once again was productive, five, six hits from them,” Coach Matt Myers said. “When that’s happening everyone is building momentum off of each other.”

Senior Jake Thompson was able to clinch his second win in his second outing, going five innings, with three strikeouts and one earned run on 98 pitches for the Toppers.

Freshman pitcher Cody Coll followed Thompson and made his first appearance with the team. Coll was shaky at first, giving up a run on a fielder’s choice, but after that was able to settle down, locate his pitches and pitch two quality innings.

WKU was able to coast the rest of the game adding a run in the seventh and eighth inning after the scoring outburst. When the game ended, the Toppers finished with season highs in hits (18) and runs (13).

Downing not only delivered on the offensive end going 2-for-4 and driving in three RBI’s early in the game but also defensively – the backup catcher made his second start of the season and was able to gun down three base runners trying to steal in the third and fourth innings.

This allowed for the Bulldogs, who had a total of 11 hits in the game, to have very little scoring opportunities. It also took some pressure off of the pitching staff.

“I’m just trying to get into a routine,” Downing said. “I’m filling in where I can to help the team win some games.”

With the sweep of UNC Asheville, WKU advances to 5-2 on the season and look ahead to a very tough schedule. Next week the team plays at No. 9 Vanderbilt Tuesday.