Richmond, Ky. — Eastern Kentucky scored multiple runs in four innings and hit four home runs as they handed the Western Kentucky University baseball team a 16-9 loss Wednesday afternoon at Turkey Hughes Field.
The loss was the third straight for WKU as it fell to 16-11 on the season heading into Sun Belt Conference series against UALR beginning on Friday (April 27) at 6 p.m. (CDT) at Nick Denes Field.
The Colonels (17-20-1) used a pair of six-run innings to jump on top as the 16 runs were the most allowed by the Hilltoppers this season. EKU sent nine men to the plate in the second inning, getting a two-run single from Shawn Flora, and RBI hit by Aaron Barrows and a Tyler Barnett three-run home run to jump out to an early 6-0 lead.
The second big inning came in the fifth, and was started by a Lucas Waters leadoff home run. That would be the only earned run of the frame, however, as a WKU error with one out allowed Tony Wells to score and opened the door for the Colonels. Run-scoring doubles by Clint Seymour and Barnett were sandwiched around a three-run homer by Flora in the inning.
In between those two innings, the Hilltoppers were able to battle back from the early 6-0 deficit to take their first lead of the contest. WKU got on the board in the third as Troy Frazier led off the frame with a double. One out later, Matt Hightower singled to left, and a misplayed ball in the outfield allowed Frazier to come around to score the first run of the game for WKU. Casey Hamilton then delivered a two-out double to bring home Hightower and cut the EKU led to 6-2.
The Toppers got two more in the third as C.J. Wamsley led off the inning with his first career home run, and Scott Kaskie drove home Wade Gaynor with a single to pull WKU within two. The Hilltoppers would complete the comeback an inning later with three unearned runs. After a Terrence Dayleg leadoff single, Hamilton reached on an error to put runners at the corners. Scotty Colt followed with a double that brought home Dayleg to make it a one-run game. With two outs, Gaynor drew a walk to load the bases and Tyler Bumgarner followed with a base on balls of his own to force home the tying run. Frazier then gave WKU the lead as all runners were safe on a fielder’s choice that allowed Colt to score and make it a 7-6 game.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the second six-run frame of the contest for EKU came in the bottom of the inning as the Colonels jumped back out to a 12-7 advantage.
WKU got a run back in the sixth as Hightower led off with a double and scored on a Hamilton groundout, but Eastern came right back as Matt Davis hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to stretch the lead to 14-8. EKU added two more in the seventh when Joe Oliver singled home a pair to make it 16-8.
Hamilton hit his team-leading seventh home run of the year in the eighth to cut the deficit to 16-9, and Kaskie doubled home a pair in the ninth with a double. However, Eric Hash was able to get close out the game as the Colonels picked up the five-run win.
Hamilton led the Hilltopper offense as he finished with three hits and three RBI, while Hightower and Kaskie added a pair of hits. Waters added three hits for EKU, with Barnett driving home a game-high four runs.
Ben Paxton (2-1) suffered the loss for WKU as he allowed two runs in 3.0 innings of relief, while David Owens (1-1) got hte win in releif for EKU.