WKU ends road trip with 7-3 victory over Ole Miss

Brad Stephens

WKU went to Ole Miss Wednesday night looking to finish a season-long nine-game road trip with a win.

The Toppers (7-5) did just that, beating the Rebels, 7-3, at Swayze Field.

Juniors Ivan Hartle and Logan Robbins led the Toppers’ attack.

After a second-inning RBI single from junior third baseman Casey Dykes put WKU on the board, Hartle smashed a two-run double down the left field line that pushed the WKU lead to 3-0.

The second baseman added a third RBI on a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning.

Meanwhile, Robbins, who was wearing a shin guard to protect an ankle bruised Saturday against Auburn, hit his first home run of the season and scored three runs.

Dykes also had a strong performance, going 3-for-4 with the RBI, a run, and a stolen base.

Senior pitcher Brian Edelen (1-0) started and earned the win for WKU after throwing 2 and 2/3 innings of one-run baseball.

Edelen retired the first six batters he faced and recorded five strikeouts.

Sophomore Taylor Haydel relieved Edelen, surrendering two runs in two innings.

But Phil Wetherell, Ross Hammonds, Rye Davis and Justin Hageman combined to shut out Ole Miss for the rest of the game.

Hageman’s perfect ninth inning was the first relief appearance of the freshman’s WKU career.

Starter Matt Tracy took the loss for the Rebels, pitching 3 and 1/3 innings, while giving up four runs on six hits and three walks.

Ole Miss relievers Blair Wright, Brett Huber and Eric Callender all gave up one run apiece in relief.

Second baseman Alex Yarborough led the Rebels offensively, going 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Ole Miss was within one run of the Toppers as late as the seventh inning, trailing 4-3.

But a wild pitch from Huber allowed WKU junior left fielder Jared Andreoli — fresh off his selection as Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week — to score from third, giving the Toppers a two-run cushion.

WKU added its sixth run in the eighth inning when a ball hit by senior catcher Matt Rice was misplayed by Rebel shortstop Austin Anderson, allowing Dykes to score an unearned run.

Robbins hit a solo home run in the ninth for the game’s final run.

Wednesday night’s game was the first between the Toppers and Ole Miss since the final game of the 2009 NCAA Oxford Regional, a 4-1 Rebel victory.

WKU and Ole Miss were also supposed to play Tuesday night, but the game was canceled due to inclement weather.

Wednesday’s victory marked the final stop of the Toppers’ nine-game road trip.

WKU went 4-5 over the trip, with wins over Lipscomb, Kansas State, New York Tech and Ole Miss.

The Toppers’ five losses came against Coastal Carolina, Pacific, Vanderbilt, the College of Charleston and Auburn.

WKU will now return to Bowling Green to face Illinois this weekend.

It will be the Toppers’ first time playing at Nick Denes Field since an Opening Weekend sweep of Bowling Green State.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m.

WKU Head Coach Chris Finwood did not speak to media after Wednesday’s game, so the Herald cannot confirm the starting rotation for this weekend’s series.