Bowling Green, Ky. — A six-run sixth inning by Albany answered a six-spot by the Western Kentucky University baseball team an inning early, and helped propel the Great Danes to an 12-8 win Friday evening at Nick Denes Field in the opener of a three-game series between the two teams.
After falling behind 2-1 going to the bottom of the fourth, the Hilltoppers (8-12) sent 10 men to the plate and scored six runs to pull out to a five-run lead. Seven of the first eight Hilltoppers to bat in the frame reached, with Casey Hamilton and Scott Kaskie each driving in two runs.
The advantage would be short-lived, however, as Albany (5-9) got a Tom Hill solo home run in the fifth before putting together a six-run inning of its own in the sixth. The Great Danes sent 11 men to the plate in frame, but only produced three hits as they took advantage of four walks by Hilltopper pitching to put together the rally.
WKU made it a 9-8 game in the bottom of the inning when Wade Gaynor led off with a double and scored on a Matt Payton fielder’s choice. Albany came right back with two runs in the top of the eight to stretch the advantage out to 11-8, and then added a run in the top of the ninth thanks to a bases-loaded walk.
Alexander Beaulieu shut out the Hilltoppers over the final two innings to earn his second save of the year. Sean Gregory (1-1) got the victory in relief, while WKU used nine pitchers in the contest as Ben Hildreth (0-1) took the loss.
Hamilton finished with three hits and a pair of RBI to lead the Toppers, while Leo Corvino and Hill each had three hits for Albany.
The teams will continue their series on Saturday at 3 p.m. (CDT), with the weekend finale slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday.