WKU Baseball wins season opener against University of Dayton


Marshall Canupp

Hilltopper Baseball’s Ty Batusich (9) stares down the Louisville Cardinal’s pitcher as he steps off of second base for an attempt at a steal during their match up with the University of Louisville Cardinals on March 29th at Nick Denes Field.

Camden Bush

WKU Baseball defeated the Dayton Flyers 5-3 Friday, Feb. 17 in their opening contest of the 2023 season. 

Head coach Marc Rardin made his Hilltopper debut against Dayton and helped lead WKU to victory. 

“Trying to win, not trying not to lose,”Rardin said about his strategy for the season.

Senior Trstin Garcia led the offense for the Hilltoppers. The team only put together four hits on the evening, but Garcia came up with a huge three-RBI double to propel the team to victory. 

“With a new coach here, we expected a lot,” Garcia said. “Our team came out today ready to play, and to get the first one out the way you know, it felt pretty good.”

Junior Mason Burns got the opening day start for WKU on the mound. Burns went 4.1 innings and allowed two earned runs, while striking out seven. 

The Flyers managed to put two men on the first with a walk and a single, but failed to score. The Hilltoppers then went down in order to end the first.

Dayton began the second inning with a double, but could not score after a failed steal attempt cleared the bases. WKU went down in order again in the bottom of the second. 

In the third inning, Dayton put two on with a walk and a single again, but once again failed to score. The Hilltoppers failed to put anyone on base again in the bottom of the third.

Burns made quick work of Dayton in the top of the fourth, retiring the Flyers in order and striking out two. Steinhauer continued his perfect game through the fourth as WKU once again couldn’t put a man on base.

The Flyers managed to chase Burns from the game in the fifth after allowing two more baserunners. Eigenhuis relieved Burns and proceeded to allow three runs to score in the inning on an RBI double and a two-RBI infield single, making it 3-0.

Steinhauer recorded another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fifth. 

Additionally, Steinhauer allowed a double to begin the top of the sixth, but was able to prevent the runner from scoring. 

The Hilltoppers began the bottom of the sixth with three straight runners to load the bases with no outs. Steinhauer proceeded to walk in a run and then Garcia came up with a three-RBI double to give the Hilltoppers a 4-3 lead. 

Later in the inning, sophomore Ty Batusich added to the WKU lead with an RBI Sac Fly, making it 5-3. 

The Flyers failed to respond in the seventh as no runner reached base in the top of the inning. WKU put two men on base in the bottom of the seventh, but lacked a run. 

Dayton managed to put men on second and third in the top of the eighth, but failed to capitalize on the opportunity to cut the deficit.

The Hilltoppers closed out the game in the top of the ninth with a 5-3 victory. 

The Hilltoppers and Flyers will meet again Saturday, Feb. 17 at Nick Denes Field at 3p.m. CST.

Sports reporter Camden Bush can be reached at [email protected] .