Terbrak throws career-high in strikeouts in win against FIU


Marshall Canupp

Hilltopper Baseball’s Brian McAuliffe (5) knocks one out of the park to score a grand slam during their game against the Belmont Bruins at Nick Denes Field on April 5th.

Camden Bush, Baseball Reporter

WKU won its second consecutive game 7-4 Friday night against the Florida International Panthers at Nick Denes Field.

The Hilltoppers welcomed the Panthers (10-19, 3-7 C-USA) for the first game of a three-game stand, handing them a loss in a game that was delayed an hour due to rain. WKU got a strong performance by its bats, coinciding with another solid pitching outing.

The win for WKU brings its overall record up to 12-17 and its conference record to 3-7. The Hilltoppers have now won three of their last four after snapping an eight game losing streak.

WKU junior Devyn Terbrak put together a solid outing, going six innings. Terbrak allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits with a career-high 11 strikeouts. FIU sophomore Patrick Pridgen went 5.1 innings, allowing seven runs, six of which were earned, on six hits.

“He (Terbrak) did a great job today,” WKU head coach John Pawlowski said. “We scored two runs in the first inning, he got a little help there, and we took advantage of it. He just went out there and filled the strike zone up, 11 strikeouts, no walks.”

Six different Hilltoppers recorded hits on the day as junior Tristin Garcia once again led the way with two base knocks and two RBIs. The Panthers saw two batters record two hits on the day in freshman Jayden Melendez and sophomore Noel Perez.

Terbrak struck out the side to get the game underway in the top of the first. The Hilltoppers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Two Hilltoppers reached on a single and a hit by pitch. After a double steal, WKU scored its first two runs on a wild pitch and an error.

FIU failed to score in the top of the second despite a two-out single. Pridgen bounced back in the bottom of the second and retired the Hilltoppers in order.

Both pitchers began to settle in in the third as each side went down in order in the inning.

Terbrak and Prigden continued to roll in the fourth as neither team scored in the inning. FIU went down in order, while WKU failed to capitalize on a single by sophomore Andrew Delaney.

FIU took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth as its bats started to get going. The Panthers picked up four hits in the fifth, highlighted by a solo homer by sophomore Dante Girardi and a tw-run RBI single by redshirt sophomore Robert Sotolongo. 

Redshirt sophomore Ty Crittenberger led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. Later in the inning, Garcia followed a walk with a two-run RBI double, putting WKU back up 4-3 at the end of the fifth inning. 

Terbrak bounced back in the top of the sixth and kept the Panthers off the board. The Hilltoppers widened their lead in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run by graduate Brian McAuliffe. Crittenberger followed with a two-run shot to make it 7-3.

FIU led off the top of the seventh with back-to-back singles. Sotolongo brought the Panthers within three later in the inning with a sac fly to cut the deficit to 7-4. The Hilltoppers failed to respond in the bottom of the inning.

The eighth inning flew by as both teams went down in order before FIU failed to score in the ninth despite a lead-off single, locking up a 7-4 victory for the Hilltoppers.

“The conditions were a little rough,” Pawlowski said. “I mean we had some snow earlier, some sleet earlier, some rain and cold temperatures. I heard they’re talking about 70s Sunday, so hopefully tomorrow will be in the 50s and then Sunday will warm up a little bit for us.”

Up next, the Hilltoppers will face FIU again Saturday in game two of the three-game series at 1 p.m. on Nick Denes Field.

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