BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Andrew Edwards allowed three runs in the first inning on Saturday at Nick Denes Field, but he would be lights out after that, as the junior right-handed pitcher tossed eight innings, allowing just three earned runs while striking out six to earn his fourth win of the season and lift WKU to a 5-4 win over Troy. The win evened the series at one game apiece, with the rubber match set for 1:00 PM on Sunday.
The hard-throwing Edwards tossed 132 pitches on Saturday and got stronger as the game went on. Edwards is now 4-0 in Sun Belt Conference games in 2013, and in his last three starts in conference play he has gone 23.2 innings, striking out 17 batters, while giving up only four earned runs.
The win keeps WKU (19-16, 9-5) in first place in the Sun Belt Conference standings, as the Hilltoppers will look to make it five consecutive weekends in first place with a win on Sunday in the series finale.
Both offenses got off to a hot start on Saturday, as Troy’s Danny Collins cranked a three-run home run in the top of the first inning after the first two men of the inning reached on an error and a walk. WKU would respond, however, as the Hilltoppers scored three runs in the bottom-half, with Ryan Huck hitting an RBI single to get WKU on the board, then Blake Crabtree followed it up with a two-RBI single to tie things up at 3-3.
Ali Knowles would give Troy the lead with an RBI-single in the fourth inning, but the lead would once again be short-lived, as Trevor Lowe would rip a triple to right field in the fifth inning, and would eventually score on an RBI-single from Steve Hodgins to tie the game back up at four.
WKU would take its first lead of the game in the next inning, as Jordan Cessna singled home Devin Kelly to make it 5-4 Hilltoppers. Cessna finished his day with a pair of hits, joining Trevor Lowe as Hilltoppers with multi-hit games.
The one-run cushion at 5-4 would be plenty for Andrew Edwards, as he worked through the eighth inning, then gave way to relievers Taylor Haydel and Austin Clay in the ninth. Haydel would retire the first two Trojans of the ninth, but would surrender a single to Danny Collins to keep the game alive for Troy with two outs. Left-hander Austin Clay would enter the game for WKU, getting the left-handed slugger Trae Santos to ground out to catcher Devin Kelly, giving Clay his second save of the season, and the Hilltoppers their 11th save as a team.
Saturday’s one-run game was the 14th of the year for WKU, which marks the ninth time in program history that the Hilltoppers have had 14 or more one-run games in a single season. WKU has now gone 5-0 in its last five one-run games, and is 8-6 overall in games decided by one run this season. It is the first time WKU has won five consecutive one-run games since the 2009 season, which carried over to the 2010 season.
WKU has now won three of the last four meetings with Troy, and will be going for its second-straight series win over the Trojans on Sunday. It would be the first time in school history that the Hilltoppers have taken two consecutive three-game series from Troy.
The Hilltoppers and the Trojans will wrap up the three-game series on Sunday at Nick Denes Field, with first pitch set for 1:00 PM. Senior left-handed pitcher Tim Bado will take the mound for WKU in game three.
Tickets for Sunday’s game, along with all of the remaining home games can be ordered online at WKUSports.com, or by calling 1-800-5 BIG RED.