Hilltoppers swept by Southern Miss for sixth straight loss


Arthur Trickett-Wile

Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers’ grad-student infielder Brian McAuliffe (5) guards against a second-base steal Saturday afternoon, March 26, 2022, in a match against the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Western lost the match 14-2, their second consecutive defeat against the Golden Eagles in the three-match weekend homestand at Nick Denes field in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Camden Bush, Baseball Reporter

WKU was run-ruled in seven innings by Southern Miss 11-0 on Sunday afternoon.

The loss was the sixth straight for the Hilltoppers. Golden Eagles complete the three-game series sweep. The Hilltoppers are now 9-14 on the season and 1-5 in conference play. 

The Hilltoppers, for their third straight game, put themselves in a big hole early and didn’t overcome it. WKU failed to get the bats going against a tough Southern Miss pitching staff while continuing to dominate Hilltopper pitching.

“I give Southern Miss credit,” WKU head coach John Pawlowski said. “They were very good. They were obviously a team that we knew coming in is very talented. Offensively, pitching wise, they played very well this whole weekend, give them credit. From our standpoint, we made a lot of mistakes.”

WKU starter junior Devyn Terbrak went only 2.1 innings, allowing nine runs on nine hits. Southern Miss starter sophomore Hurston Waldrep pitched all seven innings, allowing no runs on only three hits.

Two of the Hilltoppers’ three hits were doubles by junior Tristin Garcia. Southern Miss had 14 hits on the day and were once again led by junior Christopher Sargent and junior Will McGillis who each had three hits on the day.

“We’ve been in a slump winning wise, but I think we’re pulling positives from everything,” Garcia said. “We had two errors today, but the game before we didn’t have any, so we’re just trying to put together a good game one day and hopefully, we’ll get back with a win.”

Terbrak retired the first man he faced to begin the game before allowing back-to-back singles. Sophomore Slade Wilks launched a three-run blast with two outs in the inning to give Southern Miss a 3-0 lead. The following batter grounded out to end the top of the first. The Hilltoppers failed to score in the bottom of the first despite a double by Garcia.

The Golden Eagles led off the top of the second with a double. Sophomore Rodrigo Montenegro knocked in a run with a one-out RBI single later in the inning. The Golden Eagles then recorded two straight singles, pushing in another run. Sargent launched a three-run homer to give Southern Miss a 8-0 lead before Terbrak got an out to end the inning.

Waldrep struck out the side in the bottom of the second to end the inning.

Terbrak allowed a solo homer to McGillis in the top of the third, making it 9-0. Junior Hunter Crosby replaced Terbrak with one out and kept the Golden Eagles from doing anymore damage. Waldrep recorded another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third. 

The Golden Eagles picked up another run in the fourth with an RBI single by Sargent to put Southern Miss up 10-0. Garcia doubled again in the bottom of the fourth, but the Hilltoppers did not score in the inning.

McGillis led off the top of the fifth with a triple before junior Matthew Meyer injured himself diving on the play and was replaced. Redshirt freshman Carson Paetow followed with an RBI single to make it 11-0. The top of the fifth ended with three strikeouts while Waldrep retired the Hilltoppers in order to end the fifth, striking out one.

The Golden Eagles failed to score in an inning for the first time in the sixth despite a leadoff single. WKU failed to put a runner on base again in the sixth.

Southern Miss didn’t score in the seventh despite a runner reaching on an error. The Hilltoppers led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, but they failed to score, giving Southern Miss an 11-0 victory.

“We’re trying to switch up a lot of different things to try to see what happens and hopefully some guys will fill out the roles,” Pawlowski said.

Up next, the Hilltoppers will return to action with a midweek game at Nick Denes Field at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. WKU will face a tough in-state opponent in Louisville.

Baseball Reporter Camden Bush can be reached at [email protected]