Baseball notes: Toppers take to the road for first time in 2011

Brad Stephens

WKU had no Opening Weekend problems in the friendly confines of Nick Denes Field, as the Toppers swept Bowling Green State.

But WKU (3-0) will have to wait until March 11 to play in front of another home crowd.

A 10-game Topper road trip will start Wednesday as WKU travels to Nashville to face Lipscomb (3-1).

Head Coach Chris Finwood said that his team will have “its work cut out for it” against the Bisons.

“Lipscomb’s got a good club and a good program,” Finwood said. “As always, we’ll have to do things well to win.”

Redshirt senior Brian Edelen will be the starting pitcher for WKU Wednesday.

Edelen, who many expected to be a part of the weekend rotation coming into the season, has instead been placed into the midweek starter role by Finwood.

The right-hander did make an appearance out of the bullpen during the Toppers’ 12-3 win Sunday, throwing three shutout innings while giving up two hits.

“I thought Edelen threw the ball great,” Finwood said Sunday. “It was great to get him some confidence going into that Wednesday start against Lipscomb.”

Edelen will likely be opposed by Bison left-hander Chris Nunn.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore pitched a perfect relief inning during Lipscomb’s 18-2 demolition of Dayton Saturday.

 Lipscomb lineup

 The Bison lineup facing Edelen should look something like this:

1. M.L. Williams, LF

2. Lee Williams, RF

3. Tennyson Dodd, 1B

4. Richie Goodenow, DH

5. Josh Chism, 3B

6. Ricky Coleman, CF

7. Bennett Smith, C

8. Kyle Henry, 2B

9. T.J. Hoelzer, SS

Hitting the beach

Following Wednesday’s game, the Toppers will travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to take part in the Baseball at the Beach tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina.

WKU will play Kansas State at noon Friday, Coastal Carolina at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Pacific at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Finwood said the team is focused on Lipscomb, but that the Toppers are also excited for the weekend.

“We know the weekend’s got a bunch of great challenges for us,” Finwood said. “We’re playing some really good programs, and I think the guys are really looking forward to getting on the road a little bit and learning a little bit more about ourselves.”

Huck transitioning well to new position

One of the few WKU players that are in a new position this year is sophomore Ryan Huck.

Huck served primarily at designated hitter in 2010 but has moved to first base this season to replace the graduated Jake Wells.

Wells now serves the team as a student intern.

The 6-foot-5 Huck played first base in high school, so he said he was familiar with the position.

“I’m enjoying it,” Huck said following Saturday’s 8-7 walk-off win. “Jake Wells has helped me a lot over there, taught me a lot of things, and it’s been a pretty easy transition.”

Huck didn’t make any errors over the weekend and was able to use his height to stretch and save a couple of near-errant throws on putout attempts.

Huck has also had a solid start at the plate.

He hit .375 during the BGSU series with 4 RBIs and three runs scored, and hit his first career triple Saturday.

Additional notes

Senior designated hitter Chris Bullard, who was pulled from the Topper lineup Friday with a hamstring issue, is expected to play Wednesday. Bullard was stretching with the team Tuesday and is listed in the team’s projected starting lineup … WKU leads the all-time series against Lipscomb, 36-32-1, and has won the last five in the series. The Toppers are 16-20 all-time playing the Bisons in Nashville … The game will be broadcast on WKU’s Big Red Radio Network.