BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU secured its third-straight Sun Belt series victory with a 3-0 blanking of Louisiana-Lafayette in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Nick Denes Field, riding the arm of junior pitcher Andrew Edwards to victory.
Louisiana-Lafayette (19-8, 4-5) was able to avoid the series sweep in the finale, holding off WKU’s late charge for an 8-6 win. WKU remains atop the Sun Belt standings at 7-2, marking the fourth time in school history the Hilltoppers have started league play 7-2.
Edwards tossed a complete game gem, shutting out the Cajuns with eight strikeouts while scattering six hits through the course of the game. No runners reached third base as Edwards became the first WKU pitcher since Bart Carter in 2007 to record a complete-game shutout.
WKU pitched a conference shutout for the first-time since May 19, 2011 when they blanked Middle Tennessee 4-0. It was the first time since 2001 that the Hilltoppers blanked the Cajuns.
Game 1 – WKU 3, Louisiana-Lafayette 0
Junior right-hander Andrew Edwards’ complete game shutout sparked the Hilltoppers to their ninth win in 11 games. Edwards picked up steam down the stretch, recording six of his eight strikeouts after the fourth inning. He ended the day with 136 pitches and improved his record to 2-1 on the season.
Scott Wilcox led the offense on a defensively dominated afternoon, going 2-for-4 at the plate and driving in Steve Hodgins with a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning. It marked Wilcox’s third-straight multi-hit game and the 12th multi-hit performance of the season.
Regan Flaherty, who provided the heroics in Friday night’s 10-9 win with a walk-off single in extra innings, came up big again on the next at bat by driving in Wilcox to extend WKU’s lead to 3-0.
Blake Crabtree started the scoring in the fourth inning, speeding home off Louisiana-Lafayette catcher Nick Thurmond’s passed ball. WKU wouldn’t let off the gas pedal after Crabtree’s score, outhitting the Cajuns 7-2 from the fourth inning on.
Game 2 – Louisiana-Lafayette 8, WKU 6
A four-run second inning by WKU wasn’t enough to answer the Ragin’ Cajuns’ five-run explosion in the fourth as Louisiana-Lafayette successfully avoided a Hilltopper sweep with an 8-6 victory.
WKU battled back from a 2-0 deficit in the second inning with back-to-back two-RBI doubles from Blake Crabtree and David Simmons. Crabtree roped his two-bagger down the right field line to plate Ryan Messex and Ryan Huck while Simmons ripped one to left field to score Jordan Cessna and Crabtree. Crabtree finished the weekend 6-for-14 at the plate with three RBI, while Simmons had four hits and a pair of RBI.
Left-hander Tim Bado made his seventh start of the season, giving up seven earned runs off 11 hits in 4.0 innings of work to fall to 2-3 on the year.
The Ragin’ Cajuns took command of the game in the fourth inning with a five-run outburst to put them ahead 8-4. WKU wouldn’t respond until Huck blasted a solo home run over the left field wall to trim the lead to 8-5. The home run was Huck’s ninth of the year and second of the series. Huck has also blasted six home runs in six conference games at Nick Denes Field.
WKU added drama in the ninth inning after a pair of walks and a single from Scott Wilcox loaded the bases with one out. Devin Kelly drove in Griffith Roark with a hard hit ball to the left side and reached on a field, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Seth Harrison intentionally walked the senior slugger, and would then get strikeout with the bases loaded to end the game pick up the win.
The Hilltoppers will return to action on Wednesday at 6:00 PM (CT) against Austin Peay in a make-up game from earlier this season. Tickets for Wednesday’s game, along with all other 2013 home games can be ordered online at WKUSports.com, or by calling 1-800-5 BIG RED.