Bowling Green, Ky. — Darkness barley had time to fall over Nick Denes Field Friday evening before Western Kentucky University freshman starter Bart Carter had finished off a complete-game, three-hit shutout against UALR as the Hilltoppers picked up a 3-0 win in the opener of a three-game Sun Belt Conference series.
The win ended a three-game losing skid for the Hilltoppers as they improved to 17-23 overall and 9-10 in the Sun Belt. UALR fell to 17-24 and 5-13 in the league.
“This was just an old-fashioned baseball game. You don’t see too many two-hour games in college baseball anymore,” said Hilltopper head coach Chris Finwood. “Bart was outstanding again tonight, and gave us the kind of momentum we needed heading in the rest of the weekend. We did just enough offensively, and good pitching always gives you a chance to win.”
It was the first complete game of Carter’s career as he improved to 5-3 on the year. The rookie lefthander retired UALR in order in five of his nine innings, allowing just three singles and tying a career high with seven strikeouts.
Trojan starter David Klumpp (3-4) was equally as impressive as he threw 7.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, and striking out seven.
After three scoreless innings, WKU was finally able to get in the board in the fourth inning, putting together a two-out rally as Casey Hamilton was hit by a pitch, and Scotty Colt drew a walk. Wade Gaynor followed with a single through the left side that plated Hamilton from second to give the Toppers a 1-0 lead.
A leadoff double by Scotty Colt set up another scoring inning for WKU in the seventh. Following the two-bagger, Wade Gaynor laid down a sacrifice bunt that was thrown away by UALR third baseman Brian Smiley, allowing Colt to score and stretch the lead to two runs. After a J.B. Paxson single put runners at the corners, Gaynor was caught between third and home on a squeeze attempt for the first out of the inning. However, Paxson was able to move to third on a Matt Payton groundout, then score on a Troy Frazier infield single to stretch the lead to 3-0.
The Trojans did not threaten against Carter until the eighth, when a pair of two-out walks gave UALR its first runner in scoring position. After a wild pitch allowed the runners to move to second and third, Carter got Brian Asbill to ground out, ending the threat. Carter then retired UALR in order in the ninth to finish off his masterpiece.
Offensively, Gaynor finished with two of WKU’s seven hits, and also drove home what proved to be the game-winning run. Tyler Mason collected two of the three hits for UALR.
The two teams will continue their series on Saturday with a 3 p.m. (CDT) first pitch.