Toppers resume Sun Belt play Friday against FIU

Sophomore outfielder David Simmons is hit by a pitch during WKU’s 13-1 win over Butler on Tuesday, March 13, at Nick Denes Field.

Kurt Carson

WKU didn’t quite start the Sun Belt Conference portion of its schedule the way it had hoped.

The Toppers opened conference play last weekend against Middle Tennessee State with a win on Friday but dropped the final two games to lose the series.

WKU (9-12, 1-2 Sun Belt) looks to rebound and get back on track as it takes on Florida International (8-11, 0-3) this weekend at Nick Denes Field in its Sun Belt home-opening series.

Head Coach Matt Myers said he couldn’t stress enough how important it is to get off to a quick start.

“We haven’t played the way that people are used to seeing us play,” Myers said. “For morale and confidence, the quicker you can get a W or two and find a way to win this series, the better.”

FIU comes in having been swept in its opening SBC series last weekend.

However, Myers said that doesn’t mean this weekend won’t be a challenge. In fact, he said it will be quite the opposite.

“There’s a lot of pride in FIU’s program, and they’re going to come in here trying to get this series from us,” Myers said. “We’ve got to try to get our kids ready.

“FIU’s going to throw really good arms and probably has the best offense in our league. We have to be hitting on all cylinders for us to be successful.”

Sophomore first baseman Scott Wilcox said he knows they have to be prepared for a tough FIU team come Friday.

“They’re going to be a good team,” Wilcox said. “They can hit the ball for sure. We’re going to have to really grind it out and battle.”

The main thing Myers said he’s been stressing to prepare his team for the battle is simply consistency.

“We haven’t been really good mentally being consistent,” Myers said. “We have to stay focused on the fundamentals of the game of baseball. With a team that doesn’t have the experience we’ve had in the past, we’ve got to just focus on today.”

Senior second baseman Ivan Hartle said he’s hoping a series win this weekend will bring consistency.

“It’s going to be a tough opponent,” Hartle said. “We’ve got to take care of business out there and hopefully get back to winning a series this weekend.”

First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Toppers are 5-1 in the first game of a three-game series so far this season.

Myers said as long as they keep winning those games, he feels confident.

“I just want to continue winning on Fridays,” Myers said. “Any time you win on Friday, a team’s got to beat you twice.”