WKU drops series finale against no. 23 Old Dominion by way of run-rule


Credit: WKU Athletics

Richard Constantine

Wyatt Sparkman, Baseball Reporter

WKU (25-27), (15-17, C-USA) finished its final Conference USA series against the no. 23 Old Dominion Monarchs (36-14), (22-10, C-USA) on Sunday afternoon in Norfolk, VA by dropping the series finale by a score of 13-2. WKU was held hitless during the last five innings during the run-rule shortened contest.

Freshman Luke Stofel got his seventh start in the series finale for WKU. He pitched for one inning, allowing four runs on four hits with one strikeout. 

ODU junior Ryne Moore got the start in the series finale. He tossed for 6.2 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts. 

WKU senior Richard Constantine supplied the only highlight for the Hilltoppers with an RBI single in the top of the first inning. ODU sophomore Thomas Wheeler went 3-for-4, batting in four runs, including an RBI single in the top of the first inning that gave the Monarchs the lead. 

Senior Ray Zuberer III tripled to lead off the top of the first inning before junior Justin Carlin batted him in on an RBI single to give WKU an early 1-0 lead. Carlin stole second base and advanced to third base on ground out. 

Constantine batted Carlin in on an RBI single extending the WKU lead to 2-0. Moore loaded the bases with two outs after hitting a WKU batter with a pitch and walking another. Moore struck out senior Matt Phipps to get himself out of the jam. 

In the bottom of the first inning, senior Kyle Battle hit a solo homerun to cut WKU’s lead to 2-1. Freshman Kenny Levari followed Battle with a single. After a walk and fielder’s choice put Levari on third base, junior Matt Coutney batted him in on an RBI single. 

Stofel loaded the bases after hitting an ODU batter before Wheeler gave the Monarchs a 4-2 lead on an RBI single. Stofel got out of the first inning with a strikeout.

The Hilltoppers had nothing to show for in the top of the second inning. Junior Aristotle Peter relieved Stofel in the bottom of the second inning. Peter allowed one Monarch hit one no runs in the bottom of the second inning. 

After WKU went three up and three down to start the third, ODU got the bats going in the bottom of the inning with a Coutney double and a single from junior Tommy Bell. Wheeler batted both runners in to extend the Monarch lead to 6-2. 

The Hilltoppers went three up and three down for the second consecutive inning in the fourth. The Monarchs loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning with two walks and a hit-by-pitch before Bell hit a sacrifice fly to extend ODU’s lead to 7-2. Redshirt junior Michael Darrell-Hicks relieved Peter with two outs. Darrell-Hicks forced a fly out to end the fourth inning. 

In the top of the fifth frame, Redshirt freshman Ty Crittenberger walked to lead off but three consecutive outs left him stranded on first base. Sophomore Ryan Teschko led off the bottom of the fifth inning for ODU with a single. After two straight outs, freshman Carter Trice hit an RBI double, extending the Monarch lead to 8-2.

WKU went three up and three down in the top of the sixth frame for its fourth consecutive inning. WKU sophomore Hunter Crosby entered the game for Darrell-Hicks in the bottom of the sixth frame. 

Old Dominion tacked on five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the game in run-rule territory. Bell stole home for the first run of the inning followed by an RBI single from Teschko scoring Wheeler. Two more Monarchs scored on an RBI single from Trice and a wild pitch allowed Levari to score. The Monarchs entered the seventh inning up 13-2. 

The game ended by way of run-rule after WKU went three up and three down in the top of the seventh frame, the fifth consecutive inning without a Hilltopper hit.            

Up next, the Hillltoppers will finish out their regular season at Nick Denes Field against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (20-29) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. CT. 

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