BASEBALL: Losing streak ends with Vanderbilt

Amber North

A win was needed.

Losing three straight games without scoring in that duration was tough for the Hilltoppers to stomach.

Traveling to Nashville to face an undefeated Vanderbilt wasn’t an easy ride, either.

Then senior Matt Gunning stepped to the plate and helped push Western past the Commodores 10-9. The first baseman went 3-4 for the night and recorded five RBI, including a three-run bomb in the first inning.

“It was a big win for us,” Gunning said. “I’m just happy to be able to contribute and play well.”

The Hilltoppers (4-7) started the first inning with a 3-0 lead thanks to Gunning’s homer. Senior second baseman Matt Johnston hit a double to start the game.

“We had two seniors starting things right out the gate,” coach Joel Murrie said. “We need to have that happening when you’re struggling.”

The Commodores (7-1) refused to lie down with a five-run fifth inning that put them ahead 7-6. It didn’t take long for the Toppers to reclaim the lead for good when they scored four more runs in the sixth inning.

Vanderbilt scored two more in the seventh inning to make it 10-8, but couldn’t release itself from under the Topper’s firm grasp of the lead.

“Vandy is a quality baseball team very similar to the teams we played previously (this season),” Murrie said. “We played with great confidence and we were relentless.”

Reach Amber North at [email protected]