Nashville, Tenn. — The Western Kentucky University baseball team held #19 Vanderbilt to just five runs, but could only muster one run off Commodore pitching in a 5-1 loss Tuesday night at Hawkins Field.
The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Hilltoppers as they fell to 18-12 on the season. Vandy improved to 20-10.
Walks in both the second and third innings led the Vanderbilt’s first two runs of the game. After Andrew Giobbi led off the second with a free pass, he was able to steal second, them move to third on a Parker Hanks flyout. Giobbi then came home to score on a Rye Davis wild pitch to get the Commodores on the board first. David Flaherty drew a one-out walk in the third inning from WKU reliever Evan Teage, and after moving to second base on a balk, he scored on a Dominic de la Osa single to put Vanderbilt in front 2-0.
Vandy starter Nick Christiani limited the Hilltoppers to just five hits in his start, but ran into some trouble in the third after Wade Gaynor led off the inning with a double. Two outs later, Christiani walked J.B. Paxson, then hit Matt Bracken to load the bases. Matt Payton then drew a bases-loaded walk to force in Gaynor with WKU’s first run before a strikeout ended the inning.
Christiani (3-1) picked up the win for the ‘Dores as he threw 6.2 innings, allowing just the one run and striking out six.
Hilltopper shortstop Terrence Dayleg showed off some defense in the bottom of the fifth as he made a diving catch to steal a base hit from Pedro Alvarez, then threw Flaherty out at the plate on a relay play when de la Osa tripled to center to keep it a one-run game. However, on the very next play de la Osa stole home to stretch the Commodore lead to 3-1.
Vanderbilt was able to add a fourth run in the seventh inning when a pinch-hit single by Steven Liddle with two outs plated Alvarez to extend the lead to 4-1. The Commodores added an unearned run in the eighth when David Macias scored on a throwing error, and Drew Hayes threw two scoreless innings of relief to notch his second save of the season.
Davis (1-5) suffered the loss as he allowed a run on four hits in two innings of work. Six WKU relievers combined to throw the final six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits.
Wells accounted for two of WKU’s six hits to extend his hitting streak to a career-long nine games. Macias led the Commodores with four hits, while de la Osa finished with a three-hit night. Liddle and de la Osa finished with the only two RBI of the night for Vanderbilt.
WKU returns home on Wednesday to host Eastern Kentucky at 6 p.m. (CDT) at Nick Denes Field.