Edelen’s relief work slams door on 8-5 win for Toppers at ULM

Herald Staff

Head Coach Chris Finwood said earlier this week that WKU’s recent bullpen struggles were making him reconsider pitching possibilities.

But the Toppers may have found a solution Saturday night.

Senior pitcher Brian Edelen, the typical Sunday starter, struck out three batters in 1 and 1/3 innings of relief work to earn his first save of the season, helping the Toppers claim an 8-5 win over Louisiana-Monroe at Warhawk Field.

It didn’t look like Edelen’s services would be needed in the game after WKU hung seven runs on ULM in the top of the seventh inning to take an 8-1 lead, but the Warhawks fired back with four runs in the bottom of the frame.

It was the first real damage done to freshman starter Justin Hageman (7-4), who went seven innings with six strikeouts for the win, surrendering four runs.

Sophomore Taylor Haydel came on in relief of Hageman, but he struggled in just two-thirds of an inning before WKU called for Edelen.

The senior retired all four batters he faced, including striking out the side in the ninth.

WKU scored its first run on an RBI single by junior third baseman Casey Dykes in the third inning, but the Toppers sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh to blow the game open.

Junior second baseman Ivan Hartle drew a bases-loaded walk, and senior catcher Matt Rice followed with a two-run single.

Junior center fielder Kes Carter then knocked an RBI single, and junior right fielder Ryan Hutchison finished the scoring with a three-run home run.

WKU had 11 hits in the game.

Edelen’s work Saturday means he won’t get the ball as usual for Sunday’s start.

Junior reliever Phil Wetherell will instead get the nod, according to a release from WKU media relations. Wetherell is 0-2 this season with a 4.28 ERA.

Sunday’s first pitch is set for 1 p.m.