BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University (17-7) got nine combined RBI from Matt Rice and Jake Wells, as the Toppers cracked the 20-run barrier for the second time in 2009, defeating VCU (10-9) 20-7 on Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field. The win improves WKU to an impressive 14-1 at home and moves the Topper starting rotation to a perfect 10-0 on the weekends.
The Toppers scored twice in the opening inning, getting a two-RBI double from Rice, scoring Wade Gaynor and Chad Cregar. WKU
extended the lead to nine after scoring seven runs in the home half of the second inning, with Rice collecting two more RBI on a single
through the right side. Jared Andreoli added a RBI triple, scoring Kes Carter, who also drove in a run, and Craig Morgan. Wells and J.B. Paxson also had RBI singles in the inning.
VCU starting pitcher Phillip Deane (0-2) lasted only 2.1 innings, giving up 13 runs, as WKU pushed across four more runs in the third, extending the lead to 13-0. Wells highlighted the inning, belting his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to right field.
The Rams got on the scoreboard in the fourth, scoring three runs off two hits, to cut the lead to 13-3. WKU would put any concern of a VCU comeback to rest in the bottom of fifth however, scoring seven runs on six hits, to increase the lead to 20-3. Terrence Dayleg picked up a two-RBI double in the inning, scoring both Rice and Paxson. Dayleg finished the day 2-for-3. Carter, who finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with three RBI, drove in a pair with a single.
Wells, who was only a triple away from the cycle, doubled for the second time in the game, this time into straight away center field, scoring Andreoli and Carter.
The Rams plated one in the sixth and three more in the seventh, but it was all cosmetic.
Matt Hightower (4-0) picked up the win on the hill for the Toppers allowing four earned run on six hits and two walks, striking out five in 6.0 innings of work. Craig Stem saw his first action of the year pitching the seventh while Paxson closed out the final two innings, holding VCU to just one hit.
With the victory, WKU wins its seventh-straight weekend series, and its ninth-straight home weekend series.
WKU and VCU will conclude their three-game series tomorrow at 1:00 PM at Nick Denes Field. Baseball season and single game tickets are on sale for the 2009 campaign. Call the WKU ticket office at (270) 745-5222 for more information. Fans may also visit WKUsports.com as the site contains ticket and Hilltopper Athletic Foundation information.