WKU finds offense, beats CMU 12-6

Austin Lanter

The WKU baseball team was able to get its offense going early and often Saturday, recording a season high in both hits and runs en route to a 12-6 win over Central Michigan (2-4), but not without giving up the lead a few times.

“Like I said on the radio, I probably could have used a better term, but we were pissed off last night,” coach Matt Myers said. “We took it to pride, took it to heart a little bit about how we’ve come out. We came out early today aggressive to the fastball. Our guys were in here at 7 a.m. getting after it. These kids don’t quit.”

For the second straight day, Central Michigan found a way to get a run across home plate in the first inning without recording a hit. WKU (2-3) junior pitcher Andrew Edwards hit his first batter who would reach second on a wild pitch, third on a sacrifice bunt, and cross home plate on an error by Topper second baseman Blake Crabtree.

In the bottom half of the first, WKU started with two straight singles by freshman infielder Thomas Peter and junior infielder Scott Wilcox. Junior outfielder Regan Flaherty and senior designated hitter Devin Kelly would have consecutive RBIs to bring the runs in and give the Toppers a 2-1 after the first inning, their first lead of the series.

“I love these guys,” Myers said. “I said it from day one, how hard they work and the type of bunch they are. It was good to see that. That’s our potential right there.”

The lead, however, would not last long.

After a couple singles by the Chippewas, they would plate one run courtesy of a sacrifice fly by catcher Tyler Huntey and another one the very next batter on an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead.

CMU extended its lead in the third inning after center fielder Nick Regnier had an RBI double to score his brother, right fielder Logan Regnier, to give the Chippewas a 4-2 lead.

In the bottom of the third, Kelly would drive in Wilcox again to make it 4-3 and then CMU pitcher Pat Kaminska got called for a balk to bring in Flaherty to tie the game.

So far there have been 10 balks in the series – four on Friday and six Saturday. In all WKU games last year, there were only 11 balks total.

“I don’t know, I can’t control that one,” Myers said about the balks. “I think some of them are legitimate balks, I wouldn’t disagree.”

The Chippewas reached base on a couple of WKU errors in the fourth inning and scored one more to make it 5-4.

Sophomore catcher Ryan Messex had a leadoff home run in the bottom half of the inning for the Toppers to tie the game once more. The home run was the first career home run for Messex. Wilcox would drive another run in for the Toppers as they regained the lead 6-5.

“It felt good,” Messex said. “But anybody that gets in the box we have confidence in to get the job done. We were just trying to start something for the team and get back on top right there.”

Messex drove another run in for WKU one inning later to extend the lead to 7-5. Two batters later sophomore outfielder Matthew Paculan brought in two more runs for his first career RBIs as a Topper.

WKU would tack on two more runs in the sixth to take an 11-5 lead, including freshman outfielder Anderson Miller’s first career RBI.

“Last week I struggled,” Miller said. “I was pretty tense up there just trying to get my first hit. I finally relaxed and just tried to stick to the approach I’ve had all winter and all fall and just relax up there and hit the ball up the middle.”

CMU would get a run back in the seventh, but Kelly would retaliate in the 8th with his first home run of the season.

Sophomore pitcher Austin Clay, who came on in relief of Edwards, is credited with the win while CMU pitcher Pat Kaminska gets the loss.

Game three of the series will be Sunday at noon at Nick Denes field. WKU will send junior ace Tanner Perkins to the mound tomorrow, who will be making his second start of the season after earning the win one week ago against Bowling Green State.