WKU drops two mid-week games to Belmont

Austin Lanter

The Toppers had a tough stretch this week on the baseball diamond.

The WKU baseball team dropped two games to Belmont this week, extending its losing streak to the Bruins to five games.

WKU (3-5) went on the road for the first time this season Tuesday and lost 13-4. The very next day, the two teams squared off in Bowling Green with the same result – this time Belmont (7-2) came out victorious 7-6 in 11 innings.

WKU sent a freshman pitcher to the mound in both games – Jackson Sowell Tuesday and Josh Bartley Wednesday – each making their first career start for the program.

Sowell started his career by striking out all three batters he faced in the first inning. The second inning, however, proved to be a different story.

Belmont sent 10 different batters to the plate and scored eight runs in the second.

“When I went out to the mound I told Jackson when I took him out, ‘Jackson, man, you’re going to pitch a lot for us,’” Myers said. “I didn’t want to pull Jackson out in the second inning. I wanted him to work.”

Of those eight runs allowed by Sowell, only three of them were earned due to an error by freshman infielder Thomas Peter.

WKU got on the board in the seventh inning scoring one, but in the bottom of the frame, Belmont scored three more, adding to the 10 runs they already had.

In the eighth inning sophomore catcher Ryan Messex had two RBIs for WKU and senior designated hitter Devin Kelly had one RBI to make the score 13-4, the final.

“We’re tough,” Kelly said. “We try to stay positive all the time. We go out there and compete every inning, every pitch, and every swing.”

On Wednesday, the Toppers were able to take a four-run lead into the seventh inning when things went downhill. Belmont was able to plate four runs in the inning and tie the game at five. After a scoreless eighth, the Bruins broke through in the ninth and took a 6-5 lead.

However, in the bottom of the ninth freshman outfielder Anderson Miller connected on a two-out double to score one run and tie the game once more and send it into extra innings.

“That’s the one things that’s guaranteed – we never give up,” coach Matt Myers said. “There’s no moral victories. We have to have a belief that we’re going to win these games. You’ve got to be able to put people away.”

Belmont would score the deciding run in the 11th inning to win 7-6.

Early in Wednesday’s game, senior infielder Ryan Huck hit a three-run home run, his second of the season, and junior outfielder Regan Flaherty extended his hitting streak to eight game.

“We were putting together some quality at bats today,” Huck said. “We had some good AB’s (at bats). We were trying to work with the count, stay to our approach in the middle, and look for mistakes like we usually do.”

WKU was scheduled to play Southern Illinois on the road this weekend, but due to inclement weather, instead of playing three games, the teams will play two, both at 1 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.