Bowling Green, Ky. — Jake Wells and Wade Gaynor each collected three hits as the Western Kentucky University baseball team ran their winning streak to three games — and took their second straight from Purdue — with a 12-5 win over the Boilermakers Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field.
The win moved the Hilltoppers to 4-1 on the year, while Purdue dropped to 0-5.
“We did a really good job of being opportunistic on offense today,” said Hilltopper head coach Chris Finwood. “I thought we had some great at bats. Matt Ridings gave us another great performance on the mound, and we made some great plays behind him defensively.”
WKU scored in six of its eight at bats, including eight runs in the first four inning. After getting on the board in the bottom of the first when Scott Kaskie scored on a wild pitch, the Toppers put up three runs in both the second and third innings.
A two-out walk to Matt Payton set the table in the second as that free pass moved Jake Wells into scoring position. Kaskie followed with an RBI single to bring home Wells. Matt Hightower then singled in Wells, with Kaskie coming home to score on a Purdue error on the play to stretch the lead to 4-0.
A two-run double from Drew Madia got Purdue on the board in the top of the third, but WKU came back with three more runs in the bottom of the inning. After a one-out single from Gaynor, J.B. Paxson followed with a run-scoring double, then came home to score himself on a single by Jake Wells. With a play at the plate, Wells was able to move all the way to third on his hit, then come home on a groundout by Jeremy Coleman. A run-scoring single by Terrence Dayleg in the fourth stretched the WKU lead to 8-2.
That would be all the support Ridings would need as he scattered seven hits over 5.2 innings, allowing four runs and striking out six. The Hilltopper bullpen took care of things from there as the trio of Garrie Krueger, Travis Adams and Evan Teague threw the final 3.1 innings, allowing just one run and two hits.
After the Boilermakers plated two runs in the top of the sixth, Paxson drove in a pair with his second double of the game in the bottom of the inning, then came home on a Wells single to stretch the lead to 11-4. Gaynor added a final run in the eight when he hit an opposite-field home run to right — his second long ball of the season.
Purdue got a run in the top of the ninth, but Teague was able to close the door to give the Hilltoppers the victory.
Paxson joined Gaynor and Wells with multiple hits, finishing the day with two doubles and three RBI. Wells also drove home a pair for WKU. Purdue was limited to nine hits, with Brandon Haveman finishing with two.
The teams will close out their weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m. (CST) at Nick Denes Field.