WKU splits doubleheader with no. 23 Old Dominion, earns first win against a ranked opponent since 2018

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Credit: WKU Athletics

WKU’s Kevin Lambert (24) tags second base before Valparaiso catcher Jake Kapers (3) can reach it at Nick Denes Field on Feb. 15, 2020. WKU won 9-3.

Wyatt Sparkman, Baseball Reporter

WKU (25-26), (15-16, C-USA) continued its final Conference USA series against no. 23 Old Dominion (35-14), (21-10, C-USA) on Saturday afternoon in a doubleheader. Both teams took home a win as ODU took game one 6-3 and WKU took game two 7-6 in an extra-inning affair. It was the first time WKU Baseball had defeated a ranked opponent since 2018.  

WKU senior Kevin Lambert went 4-for-8 with two RBIs and three doubles across both games including batting in the game winning run in game two. 

ODU senior Kyle Battle went 4-for-7, batting in two runs with a double across both games of the doubleheader. Both RBIs were the first Monarch run of each game.  

Game 1: ODU 6, WKU 3

WKU junior Sean Bergeron got the start in game one. He pitched for 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with six strikeouts. 

ODU junior Hunter Gregory got the call to start. He tossed for five innings, allowing three runs on four hits with three strikeouts. 

In the first inning both teams had nothing to show for as the two programs combined for no hits and one runner to reach base. 

Sophomore Matthew Meyer walked to lead off the top of the second inning, then Lambert followed Meyer with a double putting WKU runners on second and third base. Meyer scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Ricardo Leonett. 

Lambert extended the Hilltopper lead to 2-0 by scoring on a throwing error by freshman third baseman Kenny Levari. ODU did not answer in the bottom of the second inning, instead going three up and three down.     

WKU left runners stranded at first and second base in the top of the third frame after three consecutive outs. In the bottom of the third frame, junior Tommy Bell and sophomore Ryan Teschko hit back-to-back singles before Battle hit an RBI single to cut the WKU lead to 2-1. 

Freshman Carter Trice tied the game at three runs apiece on an RBI single. The Monarchs took a 3-2 lead on an RBI single from junior Andy Garriola. WKU got out of the bottom of the third inning with Bergeron’s fifth strikeout of the game. 

Meyer led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo homerun that tied the game at three runs apiece. WKU could not add any more runs after three consecutive outs. In the bottom of the fourth inning, ODU’s Bell reached on a throwing error by senior Ray Zuberer III before Teschko gave ODU a 5-3 lead on a two-run homerun. 

The Hilltoppers did not answer in the top of the fifth frame. In the bottom of the inning, junior Dalton Shoemake relieved Bergeron after a Monarch batter reached first base on a throwing error by Meyer. Shoemake walked his first batter before stranding both ODU runners. 

Both teams made pitching changes in the sixth inning as ODU freshman Noah Dean relieved Gregory and junior Ryan O’Connell relieved Shoemake. WKU got one hit on Dean in the inning but could not bat in the runner while freshman Kenny Levari batted in one run on a RBI double to extend the ODU lead to 6-3. 

In the top of the seventh inning, Zuberer singled with two outs, but was left stranded after junior Justin Carlin popped up to end the game. Dean picked up his seventh save of the season. 

Game 2: WKU 7, ODU 6

WKU sophomore Devyn Terbrak got his tenth start of the season. He tossed 6.2 innings while allowing six runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. 

Sophomore Aaron Holiday got the start in game two for ODU. He pitched for 1.2 innings, allowing three runs on no hits with five strikeouts before being relieved.

WKU loaded the bases in the top of the first frame with two consecutive walks and a fielding error by ODU’s Levari. Holiday then walked Meyer to give the Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead. Holiday got himself out of the bases loaded jam with a strikeout and a pop up. ODU could not answer in the bottom of the first frame going three up and three down.  

After Holiday walked two more Hilltopper batters in the top of the second inning, junior lefty Trey Fisher relieved him. Sophomore Jackson Gray hit a three-run home run, extending the WKU lead to 4-0. 

Fisher walked senior Richard Constantine before Meyer singled, putting WKU runners on first and second base. Constantine scored on a fielding error by Levari, extending WKU’s lead to 5-0. The Monarchs had runners on first second base with one out in the bottom of the second inning but Terbrak forced a fly-out and a pop-up, leaving both stranded. 

ODU freshman Vincent Bashara relieved Fisher in the top of the third inning. Both teams had nothing to show for in the third inning as both teams hit a single but could not score their runners. 

Gray led off the top of the fourth inning with a double. He advanced to third base on a ground out before scoring on an RBI double from Lambert, extending the WKU lead 6-0. ODU went three up and three down in the bottom fourth inning. 

Redshirt sophomore Brad Dobzanski came in to pitch for the Monarchs in the top of the fifth frame and did not allow a hit. ODU freshman Andrea Dalatri reached second base on an error by Meyer in the bottom of the fifth frame. He scored the first run of the game for ODU on an RBI single from Battle to cut WKU’s lead to 6-1. 

WKU had nothing to show for in the top of the sixth inning. Garriola singled in the bottom of the sixth before freshman Lincoln Ransom hit a two-run home run to cut the lead to 6-3. 

ODU redshirt freshman Joey Rodriguez was sent to the mound in the top of the seventh, the fifth Monarch pitcher to enter the game. WKU could not get anything going against Rodriguez.

Sophomore Jared Hancock singled in the bottom of the seventh inning before Battle doubled to put ODU runners on second and third base. Hancock scored on a Trice RBI single, making the score 6-4. 

Redshirt junior Bailey Sutton then relieved Terbrak. Sutton threw a wild pitch that allowed Battle to score from third base. Garriola then hit an RBI double to tie the game at six runs apiece. Junior Brock Gagliardi singled to left field, but junior Junior Coleman launched the ball to home plate for the third and final out to send the game into extra innings.    

In the top of the eighth inning, Gray singled before advancing to second base on a walk. Redshirt senior Tom Scheffler then relieved Rodriguez. Lambert then batted in Gray to give WKU a 7-6 lead on an RBI single. 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, redshirt sophomore Mason Vinyard headed to the mound to close out the game for WKU. Vinyard picked up his second save of the season as ODU went three up and three down to end the game.   

The Hilltoppers will finish their last C-USA series of the year against the Monarchs on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.

Baseball beat reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected]