Hilltoppers drop second consecutive C-USA series

WKU pitcher Collin Lollar (20) throws a pitch at the baseball game at Nick Denes Field on Feb. 27, 2021. WKU lost 11-3.

Wyatt Sparkman

WKU(12-16), (2-6, C-USA) wrapped up its first Conference USA road series Saturday afternoon against FIU (12-14), (4-4, C-USA). The Hilltoppers lost its third straight game 10-0. 

FIU’s freshman Adrain Figueroa went 1-for-4 with three RBIs. 

Junior Aristotle Peter got his second straight series finale start for WKU. He pitched for two innings, allowing four runs and struck out one Panther batter. 

Redshirt junior Steven Casey got his third start of the season for FIU. He tossed for five innings, allowing zero runs and two hits with three strikeouts. 

“We’ll have to clean a lot of stuff up,” head coach John Pawlowski said. “We’re not the club that we want to be at this point. This is not where we want to be or where we had envisioned. But, I told the team ‘we have to understand that we have to make changes, everybody does.’ They’ve got to be willing to accept where we are and learn from it and move forward.”

In the top of the first frame, junior Justin Carlin walked with two outs and advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Casey. He was left stranded on third after a strikeout. 

In the bottom of the first frame, redshirt freshman Ben Rozenblum got on base from a hit by pitch and advanced to second after a single from freshman Steven Ondina.

Rozenblum then scored the first run of the game after an error by sophomore Ricardo Leonett. FIU extended their lead 2-0 on a Figueroa RBI single.       

After WKU went three up and three down, FIU was able to tack on two more runs off RBI singles from freshman Dante Girardi and Ondina to extend the FIU lead 4-0. 

WKU did not retaliate in the top of the third frame. WKU then made a pitching change in the bottom of the third frame going to redshirt junior Collin Lollar for Peter. Redshirt junior Justin Farmer extended the FIU lead to 5-0 on a solo homerun. 

In the top of the fourth frame, WKU got their first hit on a sophomore Jackson Gray single, but graduate Davis Sims grounded into a double play to end the top of the fourth frame. 

In the bottom of the fourth frame, Girardi hit an RBI double to push the FIU lead to 6-0. Then freshman Luke Stofel relieved Lollar for WKU. FIU then added two more runs off an error by sophomore Matthew Meyer to make the score 8-0. Figueroa then extended the FIU lead to 9-0 on an RBI single. 

WKU made another pitching change going to freshman Dalton Mesaris. Mesaris got WKU out of the fourth inning with two straight outs. 

After a lead-off single by Jack Wilson in the top of the fifth frame, WKU got three straight outs to leave him stranded on first base. WKU then made another pitching change going to redshirt sophomore Mason Vinyard for Mesaris. FIU went three up and three down to end the fifth frame. 

In the top of the sixth frame, redshirt junior Everett Hurst relieved Casey for FIU. WKU went three up and three down. FIU added another run on a sacrifice fly from redshirt senior Derek Cartaya. FIU led 10-0 after six innings of play. 

WKU went three up and three down to lose the game in seven innings 10-0.             

Up next, WKU is back at Nick Denes Field to start an eight-game home stretch against the Marshall Thundering Herd on Friday at 5 p.m. The following week Middle Tennessee will visit the Hilltoppers to close out the homestand. 

Baseball beat reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Wyatt on Twitter at @WyattSparkman3