Toppers fall to Tennessee 4-0 in Knoxville

Austin Lanter

The WKU baseball team entered Tuesday on a three-game winning streak and after a sweep of Virginia Military Institute had brought its record back to .500. However, despite out-hitting Tennessee (8-7) Tuesday, WKU (7-8) fell 4-0.

Freshman infielder Thomas Peter and senior infielder Scott Wilcox started the game off with two straight singles. Peter later got caught stealing third and Tennessee pitcher Trevor Bettercourt struck out two batters to get out of the inning.

The Volunteers, however, would take advantage of their chances in the first and plate three runs.

The first three batters reached base safely off of sophomore pitcher Austin Clay.

Clay hit his first batter and allowed a single to his second. The third batter reached base off of a WKU error loading the bases with no outs in the first inning.

Clay almost worked out of the inning, striking out the next two batters. However, he would walk one run in and then allow another single that would plate two more and make it 3-0 Tennessee.

All three runs scored by the Vols in the first were unearned.

The Toppers threatened in the third after Peter and Wilcox were able to safely reach base again and make it to third and second, respectively. Senior designated hitter Devin Kelly also reached base to load the bases for WKU with two outs, but the very next batter grounded out to end the inning.

WKU got a runner on third for the second time in the fourth inning but was once again unable to plate a run.

After Tennessee scored three runs in the first, Clay pitched the next four innings and only allowed three hits and zero runs. Clay’s finished his first start of the season pitching five innings, allowing five runs, striking out four, walking one, and allowing three unearned runs.

The Tops would not come any closer to scoring after the fourth inning.

On the day, WKU had nine hits to only six hits from the Volunteers. Tennessee plated another run in the eighth inning to make the final score 4-0.

Peter had a good day at the plate for WKU, recording three hits on two at bats. Wilcox chipped in with two hits on the day, as did senior infielder Adam Lavelle.

All in all, WKU left 10 runners on base Tuesday.

The shutout marks the first time in almost a year that WKU has been shutout in a game — the last time was May 5. The loss also brought the Toppers’ record to 3-4 lifetime against coach Matt Myers ;alma mater. All four of the WKU losses to Tennessee have come in Knoxville.

Game two of the series will be Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Knoxville. WKU will then return home and open Sun Belt Conference play starting Friday with a three game set with rival Middle Tennessee State.