WKU falls 6-1 in regular season finale on Senior Day

Kurt Carson

WKU headed in to Saturday’s series finale looking for its first sweep of the season after celebrating a victory that clinched a tournament berth on Friday.

But on Senior Day the Toppers couldn’t find the same success they had in the first two games of the series with Middle Tennessee State.

WKU (24-31, 13-17 Sun Belt Conference) went down quietly as it fell to MTSU (29-27, 14-16) 6-1 in front of 482 fans at Nick Denes Field.

Coming in to the series WKU needed to put forth a solid performance during the weekend to push itself in to the Sun Belt Tournament.

However after winning the first two games, the Toppers found themselves having already earned a spot in the tournament before the first pitch was ever thrown on Saturday.

Head Coach Matt Myers said he thinks his team came out on Senior Day with too much “contentment.”

“I wouldn’t say we weren’t ready to play,” Myers said. “But I thought we were content and I didn’t want it to be like that because it was the senior’s day.”

Five WKU seniors were recognized before the game began — center fielder Jared Andreoli, third baseman Casey Dykes, right fielder Ryan Hutchison, second baseman Ivan Hartle and right-hander Ross Hammonds.

It didn’t help that things got off to a rocky start for WKU.

Freshman left-hander Ian Tompkins got the start for the Toppers but was struck in the left arm on a liner in the second inning.

Tompkins was removed for precautionary measures and freshman right-hander Tate Glasscock took over on the mound for WKU.

Myers said he thinks Tompkins will be “OK” but that he doesn’t expect him back right away.

In the top of the second inning, designated hitter Robert Lawrence reached on the line drive that hit Tompkins and Glasscock immediately allowed a single by second baseman Johnny Thomas.

Glasscock got the second out but gave up a two-out, RBI single by right fielder Dalton Henzman that gave the Blue Raiders an early 1-0 lead.

Meanwhile, MTSU left-hander Johnathan Frebis shut down the Toppers’ offense.

Frebis allowed no runs on just four hits in his five innings on the mound.

The score remained at 1-0 until the Blue Raiders tacked on runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

First baseman Justin Guidry led off the top of the sixth inning with a bomb over the right-field bullpen that gave MTSU a 2-0 edge.

Then in the top of the seventh inning, back-to-back two-out, RBI singles by Guidry and third baseman Hank LaRue stretched the Blue Raiders’ advantage to 4-0.

WKU would cut down the margin to 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single off the bat of sophomore shortstop Scott Wilcox.

But MTSU added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a comfortable 6-1 lead.

The loss capped off WKU’s 2012 regular season.

The Toppers now wait to find out who and when they’ll play as the Sun Belt Tournament gets under way beginning next Wednesday at Bowling Green Ballpark.