WKU drops both games of doubleheader to FAU, Terbrak sets new career high in strikeouts

Head+baseball+coach+John+Pawlowski+argues+with+an+umpire+during+the+game+against+Wright+State+on+February+22%2C+2020+at+Nick+Denes+field.+WKU+won+7-2.

Credit: WKU Athletics

Head baseball coach John Pawlowski argues with an umpire during the game against Wright State on February 22, 2020 at Nick Denes field. WKU won 7-2.

Jake Moore, Sports Editor

WKU Baseball (24-24), (14-14, C-USA) dropped two games to the Florida Atlantic Owls (27-21), (16-12, C-USA) in the program’s second doubleheader in as many days. 

“After playing 14 [innings] yesterday and playing 18 today, lots of baseball in a short period of time,” head coach John Pawlowski said after the two games. “Unfortunately didn’t have a chance to come away with any wins today… but I like the way we competed and went after it today.”

Game 1: FAU 6, WKU 3

Sophomore Devyn Terbrak took the mound in game one. The lefty came into the contest holding a 3.62 ERA over 49.2 innings. Terbrak threw 8.2 innings and set a new season-high in strikeouts with nine while allowing just four runs, but didn’t get the win.

“I felt so bad for him,” Pawlowski said. “I thought he located his fastball very well on the back side of counts today. He really settled in and made some huge adjustments. Obviously he was outstanding.”

The Owls stranded a pair of runners in the top of the first inning. Junior Justin Carlin drew a walk and senior Richard Constantine drove him in with an RBI double to give the Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead entering the second inning.

FAU evened the score 1-1 in the top of the second due to a solo home run from senior Bobby Morgensen. A double-play and Terbrak’s first strikeout of the game ended the frame. WKU Senior Matt Phipps singled in the bottom of the second but was left stranded on base. 

The Owls hit another solo home run in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Terbrak surrendered a double after the blast but picked up two strikeouts in a row to prevent any more damage.

“After I gave up the two home runs I just started trying to keep everything low to those guys and just keep executing pitches like I was,” Terbrak said. “They just beat me on those pitches and were happening to hit them out.”

Senior Ray Zuberer III led off the bottom of the third inning with his 13th double of the season and advanced to third base on a fly-out. Sophomore Jackson Gray grounded out to third and Zuberer scored to tie the game at 2-2. 

Terbrak gave up a single in the top of the fourth but then picked up his fourth and fifth strikeouts to strand the runner. Sophomore Matthew Meyer led off the bottom of the frame with a single but a double-play shut down WKU’s offense. 

The Owls were retired in order in the top of the fifth inning and Terbrak notched his sixth strikeout. Justin Carlin gave the Hilltoppers a 3-2 lead by hitting his first triple of the season. His long drive to left-center field bounced off the wall and allowed Phipps to score.

Terbrak picked up his seventh K of the day, tying his season-high, in the top of the sixth inning as the Owls were retired in order once more. WKU was sat down in order as well to end the sixth.

Terbrak opened the seventh inning by ringing up his eighth batter and setting a new career-high in strikeouts. The Owls got a runner on board with a single, but Terbrak tacked on strikeout no. nine to close the frame.

Redshirt freshman Ty Crittenberger hit a two-out double, his eight two-bagger of the year, in the bottom of the seventh inning but was left stranded. The Owls stranded two runners of their own in the top of the eighth thanks to a double-play.

Constantine hit a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth and junior Junior Coleman was sent in to pinch run. Coleman was caught stealing second to send the game to the ninth.

The Owls put two runners on with two outs, prompting Pawlowski to send in redshirt junior Bailey Sutton to relieve Terbrak. Sutton surrendered two walks in a row, allowing FAU to tie the game 3-3. Junior Dalton Shoemake then relieved Sutton. FAU freshman Nolan Schanuel then hit a bases-clearing RBI double to give the Owls a 6-3 lead.

The Hilltoppers failed to rally in the bottom of the ninth. Constantine and Phipps both had two-hit performances, Carlin hit his triple and Constantine, Zuberer and Crittenberger all contributed doubles.

Game 2: FAU 6, WKU 1

Freshman Luke Stofel was given the start in the back half of the doubleheader but was relieved by junior Ryan O’Connell in the second inning. FAU scored on an RBI single and ground-out in the top of the second and tacked on another two runs in the top of the third due to an RBI single and double. The Hilltoppers found themselves down 4-0 entering the bottom of the third.

Zuberer drew a walk in the bottom half of the frame and made it all the way to third base but ended up stranded. Redshirt junior Collin Lollar then relieved O’Connell to start the fourth inning.

The Owls extended their lead to 5-0 due to a solo home run in the top of the fourth. FAU threatened to score more, but Lollar picked up a strikeout and sophomore catcher Ricardo Leonett picked off a runner at second for the strike em’ out, throw em’ out double-play.

Senior Kevin Lambert hit his ninth double of the year in the bottom of the fourth, but was left stranded. Junior Aristotle Peter then took over for Lollar on the mound for the fifth inning. Peter retired the Owls in order and ended the frame with a strikeout.

Crittenberger led off the bottom of the fifth with his ninth double of the season and Zuberer was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no outs. Carlin then walked to load the bases and Gray reached on a fielder’s choice to score Crittenberger to cut FAU’s lead to 5-1.

Peter remained on the mound in the sixth and induced a pair of ground-outs, one of which turned into a double play. Meyer led off the bottom of the frame with a single, Lambert took a hit-by-pitch and Leonett popped out to put runners on second and third with one out. A double-play prevented the Hilltoppers from scoring. 

Two FAU base runners were left stranded in the top of the seventh after Peter picked up his second strikeout and induced a foul out. Carlin reached on an error in the bottom half of the inning and Gray singled to put runners on the corners. Constantine then drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. A line-out would strand all three runners.

Sophomore Hunter Crosby came in to relieve Peter to start the eighth inning. Peter left the game having thrown three scoreless innings with two strikeouts and just one hit allowed.

“I thought [Peter] did a tremendous job of keeping the game in check for three innings,” Pawlowski said. “That’s what our relievers are programmed to do, regardless of the score, regardless of the situation.”

The Owls tacked on another run to extend their lead to 6-1 after a two-out RBI single. The Hilltoppers left Lambert stranded in the back half of the eighth and redshirt junior Michael Darrell-Hicks took over for Crosby in the ninth, picking up a pair of strikeouts to send the game to its final frame.

The Hilltoppers couldn’t put together a rally in the bottom of the ninth and were retired in order. Lambert put together a two-hit performance, Carlin and Constantine both drew two walks and Peter put together three scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts.

The Hilltoppers will head back on the road to travel to Norfolk, Virginia for a four-game series against Old Dominion on May 14-16. The series will be crucial to determine seeding for the Conference USA Baseball Championship hosted by LA Tech on May 26-20.

Sports Editor Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.