Bowling Green, Ky. — Bart Carter and Colby Beach combined to allow one run on six hits, and the Hilltoppers scored a pair of two-out runs in both the fourth and sixth innings as the Western Kentucky University baseball team opened a three-game weekend series with a 4-1 win over Purdue Friday at Nick Denes Field.
The win was the second straight for WKU as it improved to 3-1 on the young season. Purdue dropped to 0-4.
The Hilltoppers were able to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth thanks to some key two-out at bats. Chad Cregar set things up with a one-out walk, and Wade Gaynor put two in scoring position with a double down the right-field line. One out later, J.B. Paxson found himself in a two-strike hole, but was hit by a Matt Bischoff pitch to load the bases. Jeremy Coleman followed with a single to right, driving in both Cregar and Gaynor to put WKU in front 2-0.
The bottom of the order produced Purdue’s first run of the game an inning later as Alex Jaffee opened the inning with a double inside the first-base bag, and came home to score in a single from Eric Nielsen. Nielsen moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, and found himself just 90 feet away from tying the game before Bart Carter got Jon Moore to ground out to end the inning and preserve the 2-1 lead.
A 51-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth brought an end to the day for Carter, who threw 5.2 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out three.
Beach relieved Carter after the delay, and ran into a jam as the Boilermakers put runners at the corners with one out after a infield single by Nick Overmyer. However, Beach was able to pick off Overmyer at first, then get Brandon Haveman to ground out, ending the ending and preserving the one-run lead.
The Toppers took advantage in the bottom of the inning, scoring a pair of runs thanks to a couple Purdue miscues. After a two-out walk to Matt Payton, Scott Kaskie reached on a fielding error to keep the inning alive and put runners at second and third. Payton then came in to score on a passed ball, and Terrence Dayleg singled off of reliever Andy Loomis to drive in Kaskie and stretch the WKU lead to 4-1.
That would be all the support Beach would need as he did not allow a hit in the final two innings to record his first save of the season. It was also the first win of the season for Carter in his first decision.
Offensively, Jake Wells finished with two of WKU’s seven hits on the afternoon. Eric Nielsen went 2-for-4 to pace the Boilermaker offense.
Bischoff (0-1) went 6.2 innings for Purdue on the mound, striking out four and allowing just two earned runs on five hits.
The two teams will take the field again at 2 p.m. (CST) on Saturday, then wrap up the series with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.