Notes: Big day for WKU, Cessna

Brad Stephens

Jordan Cessna hasn’t gotten a ton of chances in his freshman year at WKU, coming into Sunday with just 22 official at-bats.

But when sophomore first baseman Ryan Huck went down because of an emergency appendectomy Wednesday, Cessna finally got his chance at consistent playing time.

He started all three games of the Florida Atlantic series this weekend for the Toppers and had a big day Sunday, going 2-for-3, walking once and scoring two runs.

WKU Head Coach Chris Finwood said he was pleased to see the development of Cessna, who he said “has a bright future.”

“Jordan’s a good athlete and a very bright kid who’s here on an engineering scholarship,” Finwood said. “He’s like all young guys, he’s got to get bigger and stronger and learn the game more.

“He mishandled a ball Friday night but came back and played flawless there after that and got two big hits today. I couldn’t be prouder of Jordan.”

Finwood said it’s still questionable if Huck will return in time for the upcoming South Alabama series.

Sharp words motivate Toppers

Junior second baseman Ivan Hartle said Finwood had some tough words for his Toppers Friday after a lackluster 4-2 loss to FAU in the series opener.

But Hartle added that Finwood’s postgame speech helped focus the team for the rest of the weekend.

“Sometimes you’ve got to get a kick in the butt,” Hartle said. “None of us were happy with the way we were playing, and as a team we just wanted to come together and bear down on this series.”

Finwood laughed when asked about his Friday address to the team, saying clutch hitting, not motivational speeches, are what made the difference Saturday and Sunday.

“We told the guys that (the coaches) can’t do it for them, they would have to come out and play,” Finwood said. “Baseball’s a funny game, and when you’re not getting big hits the energy level is down. When you get some big ones, the energy level goes up, and everyone feeds off each other.”

Hartle vs. Nashville

Hartle’s British Columbia, Canada, roots have been evident lately while rooting for his hometown Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, his hometown allegiances currently pitted against those of several of his teammates, as the Canucks and Nashville Predators are locked in a tight Western Conference Semifinals series.

Vancouver leads the Predators 3-2 in the series, with game six to be played Monday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

With a large contingent of baseball Toppers hailing from the Music City-area, Hartle said he’s been taking some good-natured ribbing while cheering for his Canucks.

“I guess I’m the rival right now with the Canucks being down in Nashville,” Hartle said. “I’ve been hearing it from the guys, so hopefully my Canucks can do me good here and win game six.”