WKU falls to MTSU for fourth consecutive series loss


Marshall Canupp

Hilltopper Baseball’s pitcher Ryan Luckett (11) throws a pitch to the Louisville Cardinal’s batter during their match up with the University of Louisville Cardinals on March 29th at Nick Denes Field.

Camden Bush, Baseball Reporter

WKU returned to action Sunday afternoon for the rubber match of a three-game series against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, losing 5-1 down the road in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The Hilltoppers (10-17, 2-7 C-USA) were coming off Saturday’s victory in which they snapped an eight-game losing streak, but could not maintain that momentum. The Hilltopper bats failed to get going while MTSU (13-14, 5-4 C-USA) proved to be too much for them. 

WKU has now lost nine of its last 10 games and 12 of its last 15.

WKU freshman Cooper Hellman went just 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks. MTSU senior Peyton Wigginton picked up the victory going all nine innings, allowing only one run on nine hits.

Redshirt sophomore Ty Crittenberger was the only Hilltopper to record multiple hits on the day, managing two singles and a double. Sophomore Jackson Galloway and senior Fausto Lopez led the way for the Blue Raiders. Both players had two hits, including a home run from Lopez.

WKU failed to score in the top of the first despite two singles in the inning. Hellman retired MTSU in order to end the inning.

The Hilltoppers took the lead in the top of the second. A hit-by-pitch followed by an RBI double by Crittenberger scored the first run of the game. MTSU failed to score in the bottom of the second despite two runners reaching base.

The Hilltoppers went down in order in the top of the third. Lopez led off the bottom of the frame with a solo shot to tie the game. Two Blue Raiders reached on a hit-by-pitch and a walk later in the inning before Galloway ripped a two-run RBI double. Junior Brett Coker followed with an RBI single, making it 4-1.

Wigginton shut out the Hilltoppers in the fourth while MTSU failed to score later in the inning.

Ty Batusich advanced on a hit-by-pitch in the top of the fifth but was left stranded. The first three MTSU batters reached to start the bottom of the frame. Coker knocked in a run with a sac fly to make it 5-1, but that was all the Blue Raiders managed in the inning.

Wigginton recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. The Blue Raiders saw a batter reach on a single to start the bottom of the frame but failed to score. 

Crittenberger picked up another hit with a bunt single in the sixth, but the Hilltoppers could not manage anything else in the inning. The Blue Raiders drew a lead-off walk in the seventh but did not score.

Wigginton allowed two singles in the top of the eighth but escaped without any damage. The Blue Raiders managed a lead-off single again in the bottom of the eighth but nothing else.

Wigginton returned to the mound in the ninth and kept the Hilltoppers off the board to hand MTSU a 5-1 victory.

Up next, the Hilltoppers will face Belmont Tuesday night at Nick Denes Field in a mid-week matchup. The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. CT.

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