WKU suffers road sweep to UALR

Austin Lanter

After a dramatic 18-inning victory over nationally-ranked Kentucky, the WKU baseball team traveled to Arkansas this weekend and were swept by Arkansas-Little Rock. The sweep is the first WKU has suffered since 2011 in the Sun Belt Conference.

The weekend was rough from the start — the Toppers were shut out on Friday night in a 5-0 loss to preseason Sun Belt pitcher of the year Chance Cleveland. Cleveland threw his fourth complete game of the season and only allowed three hits.

The three hits was a season-low for WKU and the game marked the first time since 1994 that the team has been shut out by UALR.

The Trojans, on the other hand, recorded 11 hits on the night, with 10 of those being singles. Their most productive inning was the very first one where they tallied four hits and scored two runs.

After the first inning, starting WKU pitcher Tanner Perkins did not allow another hit until the fifth inning. In all, Perkins tossed 6.1 innings, allowed 11 hits, five runs, and struck out six in a losing effort.

The two teams then played a doubleheader on Sunday which proved to be drastically different than the game Friday. In the two Sunday games, the teams combined for 50 hits and 38 runs. UALR scored double-digits runs in both games — 10 and 16, respectively — while WKU scored six in both match-ups.

While the Toppers could not score in Friday’s game, the team jumped out in front early tallying two runs in the opening frame. The team would score a pair of runs in both the fourth and seventh innings as well but could not contain the UALR bats.

The Trojans scored three runs in each the second, fifth, and eighth innings and added a single run in the sixth to win game one of the doubleheader 10-6.

In 4.1 innings of work, starting pitcher Andrew Edwards threw over 100 pitches for the Toppers and allowed eight hits and six runs. Edwards was credited with the loss for the game, only his second of the season.

The Trojans would make quick work of the Toppers in game two of the doubleheader Sunday — the game only lasted seven innings due to UALR being up by 10 runs at the time.

UALR used big innings in the fourth and the seventh to down the Toppers 16-6 and complete the series sweep.

For game three, WKU sent sophomore Austin Clay to the mound. Clay, however, would not last long. In just one inning of work, Clay allowed five runs and five hits, earning the loss for the game and falling to 3-4 on the year.

Freshman outfielder Trevor Lowe had a good weekend at the plate, a few days after hitting the game-winning solo home run in the 18th inning against Kentucky last Tuesday. Lowe recorded five hits on Sunday in the two games, including three hits in the final game of the series.

The three hits in the second Sunday game was the first three-hit effort of his career. It was also his third multi-hit game in his last four tries for the Toppers.

WKU will be back in action Tuesday as they travel to Louisville to play the Cardinals (33-10) at 5 p.m. The Toppers (22-22) beat then-No. 8 Louisville on April 9th 6-5 at the Bowling Green Ballpark.