Bowling Green, Ky. — A Scotty Colt RBI single in the bottom of the eighth broke a 5-5 tie as the Western Kentucky University baseball team fought off a late charge by Belmont to pick up a 6-5 win over the Bruins Tuesday night at Nick Denes Field.
The win moved WKU to 13-16 on the year, while Belmont fell to 18-13.
“This was another good win for us against a solid ballclub,” said Hilltopper head coach Chris Finwood. “We had our chances to break it open early, but I’m proud of the way we executed when we needed to tonight.”
WKU starter Matt Hightower would give WKU 6.0 solid innings as he allowed just the three runs to Belmont on six hit, while striking out six Bruin batters in the no decision.
Steve Hupper relieved Hightower in the seventh and ran into a jam as Belmont put runners as second and third with two outs. However, Hupper was able to strike out Wilson Tucker looking to end the threat and preserve the two-run lead.
The Bruins were able to pull even in the next at bat, however, as Derek Wiley singled and Ben Petsch walked to start the inning. After a balk by WKU reliever Miles Ormon moved both runners into scoring position, a one-out double from Daniel Wagner scored both runners to tie the game at 5-5. A pinch-hit single from Brandon McCall put the potential go-ahead run at third, but Colby Beach came out of the Hilltopper bullpen and struck out two straight batters to end the inning and keep things even at 5-5.
The Hilltoppers came right back in the bottom of the inning with singles by Wade Gaynor and Troy Frazier to lead off the frame. Colt then drove a ball through the right side of the infield that scored Gaynor to put WKU back in front by a run. WKU was able to load the bases with one out, but Josh Moffit (3-3) was able to pick up a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
A one-out double by Tucker in the ninth gave Belmont a chance, but Beach (3-0) was able to get Wiley to fly out, and struck out Petsch to end the game.
Terrence Dayleg quickly got WKU on the board in the bottom of the first as he doubled to left to drive in Scott Kaskie, who has led off the inning with a single.
Hightower would surrender a pair of solo home runs to Bruin batters as Packy Elkins hit a two-out shot in the third, and Carlo Testa led off the fourth with a homer into the Belmont bullpen behind the right-field wall.
The Testa home run tied the game at 2-2 as in the bottom of the third Gaynor singled home Dayleg to put WKU in front by a run.
The Toppers were able to give themselves some breathing room in the fifth as they plated three runs to grab a 5-2 lead. After Matt Payton reached on a wild pitch to start the inning, Kaskie doubled to put runners at second and third. Dayleg followed with his second double of the game to drive home both runners and put WKU in front by two. Dayleg would come home to score two outs later on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Frazier to cap off the inning.
Kaskie, Dayleg, Gaynor and Colt each finished with two hits each for WKU, while Dayleg posted a game-high three RBI. Testa and Tucker each had a pair of hits for the Bruins.
The Toppers will be back in action on Wednesday (April 11) as they host instate rival Eastern Kentucky at 6 p.m. (CDT).