Toppers go 2-1 in weekend series vs. ULL

Lucas Aulbach

WKU came out a game ahead Saturday after finishing up a three-game series against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Toppers finished the weekend 2-1 against their Sun Belt Conference foe.

WKU (16-12, 7-2 SBC) extended its lead in the Sun Belt in the two wins, though the Toppers faltered going for the sweep in the third game of the series.

Senior infielder Ryan Huck said while the Toppers weren’t able to accomplish all their goals, he feels good about finishing the weekend with a couple more wins.

“The goal of every weekend is to go out and get two wins, win the series and hopefully get the sweep,” he said. “We didn’t get the sweep this weekend but I think we played well and we’re going to continue to keep going from there.”

Coach Matt Myers said the way WKU played down the wire in the double-header — the Toppers ended Saturday’s game two 8-6 defeat with the bases loaded — showed how tough the team is.

“This wasn’t a really pretty weekend as far as execution stuff but our guys just showed our toughness, even into the last inning,” Myers said.

The Toppers played deep into the night Friday in their first win of the series. ULL and WKU traded leads for much of the night before going into extra innings tied 8-8.

Both teams picked up a run in the 10th to send the game into the 11th inning tied 9-9.

Junior infielder Regan Flaherty was the hero for the Toppers, though.

He jacked a single into right field in the bottom of the 11th inning to drive in senior outfielder Blake Crabtree from second base and send the Toppers home with a 10-9 win.

WKU brought the bats to the first game Saturday, finishing with eight hits in a 3-0 win over ULL.

After picking up a 1-0 lead in the first inning, junior infielder Scott Wilcox knocked in a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to 3-0.

The Ragin’ Cajuns were unable to answer on offense, being held scoreless for the first time this season.

Junior pitcher Andrew Edwards had every answer on the mound in the first game. He pitched nine scoreless innings and improved his record on the year to 2-1.

Andrews said it was good to get a solid bounce-back performance after a poor showing against Florida International last weekend. He gave up six runs in two innings in a game against the Golden Panthers last Saturday.

“I had a rough weekend at FIU last weekend. I was just looking out here to get back in the groove. I hoped to throw a good game and I got more than what I expected.”

Myers called Andrews’ performance against the Ragin’ Cajuns “unbelievable.”

“I didn’t want the pitch count to go that high but he was as strong in the ninth as he was in the first,” the coach said. “He was really not under stress at all throughout the game. He’s a big horse and it was just a phenomenal performance because it allowed us to use more guys in game three.

“He needed that, and he’s capable of doing that every week.”

The wheels fell off in the series finale, though, as the Toppers fell 8-5 in the second game of Saturday’s double-header.

After it was such a strength in the first game of the day, the pitching staff struggled against the ULL lineup in the last game.

The starting pitcher, senior Tim Bado, gave up 11 hits and eight runs (seven of which were earned) in four innings of play..

One Topper had a hot bat, though —Huck had a solo home run in the eighth inning. It was his ninth homer of the season, a mark which currently leads the Sun Belt.

Myers said Huck is putting up stats that wouldn’t look out of place in a video game.

“He looks like a player you’d get in a Nintendo game right now,” Myers said.

With the series against the Ragin’ Cajuns behind them, the Toppers can focus on their upcoming slate of games.

WKU will take on Austin Peay at home Wednesday at 6 p.m. before traveling to Jonesboro, Ark., next weekend for a three-game series against Arkansas State.