Hilltoppers travel to FIU following initial C-USA series

WKU outfielder Ty Crittenberger (22) slides into first base during the game at Nick Denes Field on Mar. 27, 2021. WKU lost 6-0.

Wyatt Sparkman

The WKU Baseball program (11-13), (1-3, C-USA) dropped its first Conference USA series 3-1 against the Charlotte 49ers (14-9), (3-1, C-USA) to open conference play this spring.

WKU was able to muster a 17-16 win Sunday afternoon to end a four-game skid prior to the next series. WKU doubled their runs they had in the previous three games against Charlotte.

“The difference between winning and losing is the execution part,” head coach John Pawlowski said following Sunday’s win. “In the first three games of this series, I thought Charlotte, give them credit, they executed. They did the things they needed to do, and we just had to find a way to grind out a win.”

Sophomore Matthew Meyer was the top batter in the series for WKU. After going 0-for-9 at the plate in the first two games against Charlotte, Meyer went 5-for-9 with seven RBIs and two home runs in the last two games.

“It sucks I went 0-for-9 and the other half is baseball, but I’m definitely not deterred by that and just glad I could get back to what I was doing before that,” Meyer said.

Before this past weekend, the Hilltoppers’ last C-USA series was May 16- 19, 2019, against Old Dominion. Now there are seven more series WKU will be in for the remainder of the regular season.

Next up the Hilltoppers will go on their first C-USA road trip of the spring to Miami to play Florida International April 1-3.

The Panthers (9-12), (1-3, C-USA) are coming off a series lost to Old Dominion 3-1 by a combined score of 45-26.

The Panthers are currently on a three-game skid going into the series against the Hilltoppers. WKU is 8-15 all-time against the Panthers and currently own a two game win streak over their C-USA foe dating back to the 2019 season.

The Hilltoppers have outscored the Panthers 20-5 in the past two games and have not faced them since March 24, 2019.

As of Sunday, both programs are floating around .370 in slugging percentage this season and .360 for on-base percentage.

“We can carry a lot of good things away from this weekend over to next weekend and that’s a good thing,” Meyer said following Sunday’s walk-off win over the 49ers.

WKU will be opening the series against the Panthers Thursday starting at 6 p.m. CT.

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