Carlin’s three home runs lifts the Hilltoppers over Marshall, WKU clinches series

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WKU Junior Justin Carlin attempts to put the ball in play during a game against Marshall College on April 11, 2021. 

Wyatt Sparkman, Baseball beat reporter

WKU (22-21), (12-11, C-USA) continued its road series against Marshall (8-27), (4-19, C-USA) on Saturday afternoon for a doubleheader at the Kennedy Center YMCA in Huntington, West Virginia. WKU won both games by a combined score of 21-6 to clinch its second series against Marshall of the season. 

WKU junior Justin Carlin went 6-for-8 with three homeruns in game two along with a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning in game two. 

Marshall sophomore Luke Edwards went 4-for-5 along with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game five apiece. 

Junior Sean Bergeron got his eleventh start of the season for WKU. He pitched for a complete seven inning performance allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts. 

Junior Raymond Pacella got the call to start for Marshall. He tossed for six innings allowing two runs on six hits with four strikeouts. 

Game 1 – WKU 6, Marshall 1

WKU had nothing to show for in the top of the first frame. Edwards led-off the bottom of the first frame with a double. He scored the first run of the game on an RBI double from sophomore Cyrus Grimes. 

Both teams had nothing to show for in the second inning. WKU went three up and three down, while Marshall freshman Devin Ward grounded into a double to end the second inning. 

In the top of the third inning, WKU led-off with two consecutive singles from senior Matt Phipps and redshirt freshman Ty Crittenberger. After a fielder’s choice left WKU runners on first and second base, Carlin gave WKU a 2-1 lead on an RBI double that plated both runners. Marshall could not retaliate in the bottom of the third inning. 

Both teams did not record a hit in the fourth inning, while Bergeron struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth frame. 

Crittenberger singled to lead-off the top of the fifth frame. After a strikeout, Carlin singled followed by both runners advancing to second and third base on a fielder’s choice before both were left stranded after a ground out. Marshall went three up and three down in the bottom of the fifth inning. 

WKU went three up and three down in the top of the sixth frame. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Edwards singled with one out for the first Marshall hit since the second inning. Edwards was left stranded on first base after two consecutive outs. 

In the top of the seventh frame, Marshall made a pitching change going to lefty freshman Cody Sharp in relief of Pacella. Phipps walked to lead-off the top of the seventh inning before advancing to second base on a sacrifice bunt and third base on a passed ball. He then scored to extend the WKU lead 3-1 on a sacrifice fly from Carlin. 

Sophomore Jackson Gray singled the next at bat to put two WKU runners on base before senior Riachard Constantine hit a three-run homerun to push the WKU lead 6-1. 

Marshall could not muster anything in the bottom of the seventh frame as won 6-1, while Bergeron picked up his third win of the season.   

Game 2 – WKU 15, Marshall 5

WKU sophomore Devyn Terbrak got his eighth start in game two of the doubleheader. He pitched for four innings allowing five runs on seven hits with two strikeouts. 

Freshman Patrick Copen got the start in game two for Marshall. He tossed for 3.2 innings allowing five runs on six hits with two strikeouts. 

WKU took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first frame with a Justin Carlin solo home run. Marshall could not retaliate in the bottom of the first inning. 

WKU went three up and three down in the top of the second frame. In the bottom of the second inning, sophomore Kyle Schaefer reached on an error by Phipps. Junior Jordon Billups followed with a single, then sophomore Travis Sankovich tied the game at one apiece on an RBI single that plated Schaefer.

In the top of the third frame, Phipps singled to lead-off. After a strikeout, senior Ray Zuberer III doubled to put WKU runners on second base and third base. Phipps then scored from third base on a balk to give WKU a 3-1 lead. 

Carlin then batted in Zuberer on an RBI single to extend the WKU lead 3-1. Freshman Josh Pigozzo led-off the bottom of the third frame with a single followed by an Edwards walk. Both advanced a base after an error by sophomore catcher Ricardo Leonett. 

Freshman Ryan Leitch batted in Pigozzo and Edwards to tie the game at three apiece. Schaefer then batted in Leitch to give Marshall a 4-3 lead. 

WKU tied the game at four apiece on a solo home run by Constantine in the top of the fourth frame. Sophomore Matthew Meyer walked followed by a senior Kevin Lambert single. After a sacrifice bunt advanced both runners, WKU retook the lead 5-4 on a ground out that scored Meyer. 

Senior Michael Guerrero relieved Copen with two outs. He struck out Crittenberger to end the top of the fourth frame.  

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Pigozzo reached on a fielder’s choice then advanced to second base on an error by Zuberer. Marshall tied the game up at 5-5 on an RBI single by Edwards. 

In the fifth inning, both teams made pitching changes. Marshall went to senior lefty Nick Adkins in relief of Guerrero and WKU went to redshirt junior Collin Lollar in relief of Terbrak. Both teams had nothing to show for at the plate with the new pitchers on the bump.

Both teams left a runner stranded in scoring position in the sixth frame, while both pitchers combined for four strikeouts in the inning. 

Zuberer walked to lead-off the top of the seventh inning. Carlin then hit his second home run of the game on a two-run shot to left field to give WKU a 7-5 lead. After the bases were loaded, WKU extended their lead 11-5 on the next four at bats from two consecutive walks and two consecutive hits by pitches. 

Carlin then hit his second home run of the inning for a grand slam to extend the WKU lead to 15-5. Marshall got out of the top of the seventh with a Leonett strikeout. 

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Marshall could not get anything going as Lollar picked up his first win of the season.   

Up next WKU finishes their eight game road stretch and its series against Marshall on Sunday at noon.

Baseball beat reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Wyatt on Twitter at @WyattSparkman3.