Bowling Green, Ky. — Jake Wells collected three hits and drove in three as the Western Kentucky University baseball team used a pair of multi-run innings to pick up a 10-5 win over Louisville in front on 1,336 fans Tuesday night at Nick Denes Field.
The win moved WKU to 15-10 on the year as it pushed its winning streak to four games. The Cardinals fell to 14-10.
The Hilltoppers wasted little time getting on the board as Scott Kaskie took the first pitch he saw from U of L starter Gabriel Shaw over the wall in left-center for a solo home run. Louisville was able to tie the game with a run in the second on a Drew Haynes groundout, then took a 3-1 lead in the third when Andrew Clark reached on an error that allowed Chris Dominguez to score.
WKU responded in the bottom of the fourth, sending nine men to the plate and scoring five runs. A one-out triple by Jeremy Coleman go things started as he came in to score in a Wells double. After J.B. Paxson was hit by a pitch, a bunt single by Matt Bracken loaded the bases. Matt Payton then executed a suicide squeeze that brought in Wells to tie the game. On the play, Paxson was able to score on a throwing error to move the Toppers in front 4-3. A wild pitch later in the inning allowed Bracken to score from third, and Matt Hightower singled in Payton to give WKU a 6-3 lead.
The Cardinals got a run back in the fifth when a two-out single by Derrick Alfonso cut the Hilltopper lead to 6-4, but the WKU bullpen took over from there. Evan Teague relieved starter Colby Beach in the fifth, and faced the minimum in 1.1 innings. Travis Adams then blanked the Cards over the next two innings to help preserve the two-run lead.
U of L’s relievers were just as effective as WKU came up empty in three frames before breaking the game open in the eighth. After Kaskie was hit by a pitch with one out, he moved to third on a pair of balks by reliever Neil Holland. A two-out Terrence Dayleg single drove in Kaskie, and a Chad Cregar single put runners at the corners. Drew Morgan then delivered an RBI single to stretch the WKU run to four before Wells doubled home a pair to push the Topper lead to 10-4.
The Cardinals got a run in the ninth on a Josh Richmond sacrifice fly before Ben Paxton recorded the final out to finish off the five-run victory.
Bracken joined Wells with multiple hits, collecting two. Dominguez and Justin McClanahan each had three hits for Louisville. Teague (2-0) earned the win in relief, while Shaw (1-3) suffered the loss for U of L.
The Hilltoppers return to action on Wednesday as they travel to Lexington for a 5:30 p.m. (CDT) game with Kentucky.