WKU drops two of three games to Arkansas State

Kurt Carson

The Toppers capped off the Sun Belt Conference portion of their nine-game road trip by winning one out of three against Arkansas State this past weekend.

While WKU couldn’t reach the ultimate goal of winning the series, it still found a way to earn a respectable road victory against the second-place team in the Sun Belt.

Head Coach Matt Myers said that in itself is enough to be able to take something positive away from the trip to Jonesboro, Ark.

“When you’re on the road, you don’t want to get swept, and they were a better team than us,” Myers said. “They’re a very good team and very well-coached.

“As inconsistent as we are — yeah, I’m glad. You never want to get swept.”

Over WKU’s last two series, it has come down to the rubber match to determine who would earn the series win.

Myers said his team is as close as it gets to overcoming the obstacle of winning two out of three games every weekend and improving its 6-9 conference record.

“We’re close, but we still have to do some things to get over that hump,” Myers said. “We could very easily be 9-6 in conference. It’s often come down to Sundays.”

One thing Myers said could help them overcome is a spark in the offensive production.

The Toppers had scored just one run over a three-game span before busting out for eight runs against the Red Wolves Saturday.

WKU received eight hits combined from sophomore first baseman Scott Wilcox, senior right fielder Ryan Hutchison and junior designated hitter Adam Lavelle to earn its lone victory on the weekend.

More importantly, the Toppers got out to an early lead with two runs in the first inning, which Myers said is key for his club’s confidence.

“This team responds better when we get the lead early,” Myers said. “When we don’t, it’s tougher for us to get back in these games and get a lead.”

However, WKU has had trouble sustaining production over a multiple-game stretch.

Saturday’s offensive performance is one that Myers would like to become a habit for the Toppers’ lineup.

“We go hot to cold real quick,” Myers said. “That’s just the way it’s been this year. I’m waiting for these guys to take it in to two or three games in a row.”

Despite losing the rubber match on Sunday, WKU trailed by just two runs until the eighth inning before falling 6-3.

Myers said he hopes his team can continue the effort it put forth on Saturday and Sunday into its two mid-week games this week.

WKU will cap off its road trip by traveling to Belmont on Tuesday and Lipscomb on Wednesday.

Freshman left-hander Ian Tompkins will get the start for the Toppers against Belmont — a team in which WKU lost to 6-5 on March 20 at home.

However, it’s the offense that Myers said will have to step up in both games.

“Both are offensive parks, so maybe we can score a lot of runs and get our guys going,” Myers said.