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WKU baseball starts season 2-1

Eli Randolph
Pitcher Dawson Hall (9) warms up during WKU’s first home game series against Bradley University on Sunday, Feb. 18.

WKU Baseball started the 2024 season off on a strong note Feb. 16-18, taking two out of three contests against Bradley University over the weekend.

The Hilltoppers began their season at Nick Denes Field with a three game series, in which WKU dropped the first game on Friday but took both games of a Sunday doubleheader.

WKU’s pitching was very strong over the weekend, holding the Braves to just eight runs over three games.

Sophomore leadoff hitter Dylan O’Connell led the Hilltoppers at the plate over the weekend with five hits in the series.

Game 1

The Hilltoppers lone loss of the weekend came on Friday in a 5-2 game.

The Braves jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first and never looked back. WKU tied it at one in the second with a sac fly, but Bradley quickly responded with a run in the fourth, and three more in the seventh to take a commanding lead. 

WKU managed to tack on a run with an RBI single in the eighth, but failed to mount a comeback.

Junior Grant Burleson got the Opening Day start for WKU and had a solid performance, striking out seven in four innings, but allowing two runs.

Game 2

WKU responded with a dominant 5-0 win in game two of the series, holding the Braves to two hits in a seven-inning game.

The Hilltoppers scored on a wild pitch in the first and never looked back, adding two runs in both the third and fifth innings.

Senior Jacob Bimbi and sophomore Jack Bennett combined for a two-hitter as each allowed only one hit in the contest. Bimbi pitched the first four innings, striking out seven, and Bennett pitched the last three.

Game 3

The Hilltoppers concluded the weekend with a 5-3 win over Bradley Sunday afternoon. 

The game got off to a slow start as no one scored until WKU took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an error. Bradley responded with a run of their own in the sixth to tie it at one.

WKU then took a 3-1 lead in the seventh on a two-run double before Bradley scored two of their own in the top of the eighth.

The Hilltoppers responded back quickly with two in the eighth on a sac bunt and a pickoff to ultimately claim a 5-3 victory.

2024 Conference-USA preseason All-Conference team member sophomore Dawson Hall got his first start of the season in the contest. Hall held the Braves scoreless over five innings pitched.

WKU Baseball will return to the field Tuesday to take on Lipscomb University in Nashville on Feb 20 at 3 pm CT.

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