WKU snaps 10-game skid against Rice


Marshall Canupp

Hilltopper Baseball’s Aidan Gilroy (27) gestures to his teammates in the dugout before their game against the Belmont Bruins at Nick Denes Field on April 5th.

Camden Bush, Baseball Reporter

WKU Baseball snapped its 10-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the Rice Owls on Friday in Houston, Texas. 

The Hilltoppers got a much needed victory over the Owls. WKU benefited from a very strong pitching performance and the offense did just enough to break the streak.

WKU now sits at 14-27 on the season and 5-14 in conference play. The Hilltoppers will look to win just their second conference series of the year on Saturday. Rice sits at 11-30 on the year and 4-15 in Conference USA play.

WKU junior Devyn Terbrak put together a solid performance to help lead the Hilltoppers to victory. Terbrak went eight innings and allowed two runs on nine hits and eight strikeouts. Rice sophomore Thomas Burbank went only 2.2 innings and allowed two runs on two hits.

Sophomore Andrew Delaney led the Hilltoppers’ offense with two hits, including a triple. Sophomore Aidan Gilroy and redshirt sophomore Ty Crittenberger also tacked on two hits for WKU. Rice struggled to plate runs but saw eight different batters record at least one hit. Senior Austin Bulman led the Owls offense with two hits, including a home run.

Burbank made quick work of WKU in the top of the first, retiring the Hilltoppers in order. Terbrak allowed a one-out double in the bottom of the first but managed to keep the Owls off the board. 

Senior Justin Carlin led off the second inning with a single. Later in the inning, Delaney knocked him in with an RBI triple. Delaney then scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Terbrak recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the second.

The Hilltoppers were shutout out after a lead-off walk and a two-out walk in the top of the third. The Owls picked up a single but failed to score again in the bottom of the third. Both squads picked up singles but nothing else in the fourth.

The Owls retired the Hilltoppers in order in the top of the fifth to keep the deficit at two. Rice was unable to cut into the lead in the fifth.

WKU extended its lead to 3-0 in the top of the sixth. Gilroy followed a walk and a hit by pitch with an RBI single. Terbrak continued to dominate Rice in the bottom of the sixth, retiring the Owls in order.

Crittenberger opened up the top of the seventh with a single and a stolen base. Junior Ricardo Leonett followed with an RBI single to give WKU a 4-0 lead. Rice’s offense finally got a little momentum going in the bottom of the seventh with sophomore Pierce Gallo following a lead-off double with an RBI single to make it 4-1.

The Hilltoppers failed to put anyone on base in the eighth as the club went three up, three down. Terbrak returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and struck out the first two batters he faced before allowing a solo home run to Bulman to make it 4-2.

Gilroy extended the WKU lead in the top of the ninth to 5-2. Gilroy singled then came all the way around from first to score on a couple of errors by the Owls. 

Redshirt junior Mason Vinyard took the hill for WKU in the bottom of the ninth and allowed a solo home run to freshman Manny Garza to make it 5-3. Vinyard then closed out the game, handing WKU a 5-3 victory.

Up next, the Hilltoppers will face Rice again Saturday at 2 p.m. CT. The contest will be game two of a three-game weekend series.

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