Bowling Green, Ky. — Three errors by the Western Kentucky University baseball team led to four unearned Vanderbilt runs as the #11 Commodores pulled away late for a 5-1 win Wednesday night at Nick Denes Field.
The loss dropped the Hilltoppers to 20-16, while Vanderbilt improved to 26-10.
Both teams struck in their first at bats as Vanderbilt got an unearned run in the top of the first when David Macias reached on an error to start the game, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dominic de la Osa. WKU came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie the game as Scott Kaskie led off the inning with an infield single and came all the way around to score on a gap double by Terrence Dayleg to even things up at 1-1.
The Commodores came right back in the top of the second, however, as Andrew Giobbi led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout. After a wild pitch by Matt Hightower moved Giobbi to third, a groundout by Brian Harris chased him home to move Vanderbilt back in front 2-1.
The score remained the same until the eighth as both pitching staff held the offense at bay. Vanderbilt starter Chase Reid threw his scheduled two innings, surrendering just the one run on two hits. He then gave way to Mark Lamm (1-0) who gave up just two hits and struck out four in 4.0 innings of scoreless relief to get the win. In all, three Commodore relievers combined to hold the Hilltoppers scoreless over the final eight innings.
After giving up the two early runs, Hightower (3-3) settled in to allow Vanderbilt just three more hits over his next four innings, and finished with five strikeouts in his 6.0 innings of work.
Rye Davis held the Commodores scoreless in the seventh, but Vandy extended their lead with three more unearned runs in the eighth inning. Pedro Alvarez started the inning by reaching on a two-base error, and moved to third on a Ryan Flaherty sacrifice bunt. After the play, it was ruled that timeout was not called by the Hilltoppers as Alvarez raced home to score from third and extend the lead to 3-1. After Bryce Jenney walked consecutive batters, a balk moved both into scoring position. After a groundout for the second out of the inning, Garrie Krueger struck out Steven Liddle, but with the ball in the dirt a throw to first from J.B. Paxson hit the runner allowing de la Osa to come in to score. Harris followed with a double — the first Commodore hit of the inning — that plated Jonathan White with third run of the inning to stretch the lead to 5-1.
Brett Jacobson threw the final 2.2 innings, allowing just one hit to earn his second save of the season.
WKU collected just five hits in the game, with Kaskie collecting two. Macias finished two of Vanderbilt’s six hits.
The Hilltoppers continue their homestand this weekend, hosting Arkansas State in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series. First pitch for Friday’s series opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CDT).