WKU falls short to Lipscomb for sixth straight loss


Marshall Canupp

Hilltopper Baseball’s Ty Batusich (9) looks to the Hilltopper’s 3rd base coach for a call during their game against the Belmont Bruins at Nick Denes Field on April 5th.

Camden Bush, Baseball Reporter

The Hilltoppers dropped another back-and-forth battle in a 5-3 loss to Lipscomb on Tuesday at Nick Denes Field.

The Hilltoppers once again failed to pick up a win despite an early lead as the Bison (22-15, 10-5 ASUN) proved to be too much for the home team’s pitching while the WKU offense didn’t get much going. 

The Hilltoppers are now 13-23 on the season and 4-11 in conference play. The loss comes as WKU’s sixth in a row. The Hilltoppers have only won four of their last 15 games. 

WKU sophomore Luke Stofel went 4.1 innings and allowed four runs on six hits. Freshman Hayden Frank started on the bump for Lipscomb on what was a bullpen day for the Bison. Frank allowed one run in one inning of work as the Bison used ten pitchers. 

The Hilltoppers only tallied six hits on the day as sophomore Andrew Delaney led the way with a couple of singles. The Lipscomb offense was a bit more productive, recording nine hits. Senior John Shields led with three hits.

“Not many scoring opportunities,” WKU head coach John Pawlowski said. “I thought Lipscomb did a good job, they limited the damage, and we just weren’t able to push much across the plate.”

Stofel retired the Bison in order to get things underway in the top of the first. Frank failed to return the favor in the bottom of the inning as the Hilltoppers took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Delaney.

Lipscomb failed to put anyone on base again in the top of the second. The Hilltoppers were held in check in the bottom of the frame aside from a two-out walk and single.

The Bison offense got going in the top of the third with four singles in the inning. Senior Maddux Houghton and sophomore Mason Lundgrin both knocked in runs with RBI singles in the inning to make it 2-1. The Lipscomb lead did not last long as the Hilltoppers tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the third on an RBI double from graduate Brian McAuliffe.

Stofel bounced back in the top of the fourth and retired the Bison in order. WKU failed to take the lead in the bottom of the inning as the squad went down in order. 

Lipscomb’s offense forced Stofel out of the game in the fifth after tallying two more runs on RBI doubles by sophomore Caleb Ketchup and Houghton to make it 4-2. Redshirt junior Jake Kates replaced Stofel and limited the damage in the fifth. The Bison recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fifth to send the game to the sixth.

Kates walked a man in the top of the sixth but kept the Bison off the board. Sophomore Aidan Gilroy doubled in the bottom of the sixth and advanced to third on an error. Junior Matthew Meyer then knocked him in with a groundout to make it 4-3.

The Bison picked up a two-out walk and single in the top of the seventh but failed to extend their lead. WKU failed to put a man on base in the bottom of the seventh. 

Lipscomb made it a 5-3 game in the top of the eighth on a walk and a single that was followed by a fielding error that pushed in a run. The Hilltoppers recorded a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth but failed to get anything else going.

The Bison saw a man reach via walk in the top of the ninth but didn’t expand their lead. The Hilltoppers failed to capitalize on a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth, handing Lipscomb the 5-3 victory.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win,” Pawlowski said. “We kept it close but unfortunately we just weren’t able to get much going to put some runs on [the] board there.”

Up next, the Hilltoppers will remain home this weekend to face Marshall in a three-game series beginning Friday at 5 p.m. CT.

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