Bowling Green, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University baseball team committed four errors, and saw Louisville use a five-run seventh inning to pull away and pick up a 14-3 win over the Hilltoppers Tuesday evening at Nick Denes Field.
Leading 7-3, Louisville (25-11) sent nine men to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring seven times to break the game open. Three straight hits opened the inning, with an Isaiah Howes single plating the first run. Jorge Castillo then reached on a fielder’s choice as Daniel Burton came home to score and make it 9-3. Justin McClanahan then cleared the bases with a two-run homer to put Louisville in double figures. With two outs, Chris Cates drove home his third run of the game with an RBI groundout to stretch the lead to 12-3.
The first five runs of the game were unearned as Castillo got U of L on the board with a two-run single in the first. A Cardinal error in the bottom of the second led to a pair WKU runs as Wade Gaynor and Adam Duvall each produced RBI singles to tie the game at 2-2.
The Cards quickly regained the lead in the third when Cates reached on an error and scored on a Logan Johnson double later in the inning. Louisville was able to put three runs on the board in the fourth to stretch the lead — all coming with two outs. After a single by Chris Dominguez got the rally started, Derrick Alfonso doubled down the line in right to plate the first run of the inning. Cates followed with a run-scoring single of his own, then came around to score when a fly ball of the bat of Boomer Whiting was dropped, making it a 6-2 game.
WKU was able to get a run back in the fifth when Tyler Bumgarner doubled home Scott Kaskie, but McClanahan led off the sixth with a walk, then came around to score on a Cates groundout to push the U of L lead back to 7-3 before the seven-run inning.
U of L added two more in the eighth when Howes hit a two-run homer to make it a 14-3 game.
Four Cardinal relievers combined to hold WKU scoreless over the final five innings, as Skyler Meade (6-1) picked up the win in relief of James Belanger, who allowed just one earned run on five hits over his 4.0 inning start. WKU starter Matt Hightower (0-2) suffered the loss as he went 5.0 innings, allowing six runs (two earned) on five hits and striking out six.
Bumgarner collected two hits for WKU, while Scotty Colt extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a fourth-inning single. Dominguez led the Louisville 17-hit attack with three hits, while Howes and Cates each drove home three.
The Toppers will be back in action this weekend (April 20-22) as they hit the road for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Louisiana-Monroe.