BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Florida Atlantic pushed across runs in four consecutive innings, including eight runs from the fourth inning through the sixth to take the series over the WKU baseball team with a 10-3 win on Saturday at Nick Denes Field.
WKU did have 10 hits on the day, but the Owls would go 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and have now hit .391 (9-for-23) with runners in scoring position in the two games.
The loss will snap WKU’s string of six consecutive series wins at home this season, while also snapping its streak of five-straight conference series wins at home dating back to last season.
Florida Atlantic opened the scoring on Saturday with more timely two-out hitting, as Ricky Santiago doubled home Brendon Sanger who opened the inning with a single. The Owls have had four two-out RBI through the first two games of the series.
The Owls would push across three more runs in the fourth inning, as the first three batters of the inning all reached with hits, capped off by a two-run double by Corey Keller. Ricky Santiago would later send an RBI-single to right field to give Florida Atlantic a 4-0 lead.
WKU would have its chances in both the third and the fourth innings as Steve Hodgins opened the third with a lead-off double, then Devin Kelly and Blake Crabtree would each put together back-to-back one-out hits in the fourth to put runners at the corners, but the Hilltoppers would be unable to push across a run in either inning.
The Owls would chase WKU starter Andrew Edwards in the fifth inning, plating three more runs off three hits, with all three of the hits leading off the inning to make it 7-0 Florida Atlantic through five. The Owls would plate two more runs in the sixth, then a single run in the seventh en route to the 10-3 win.
WKU would get on the board in the sixth as senior Devin Kelly ripped an RBI-double to straightaway center field, scoring Regan Flaherty. The RBI was Kelly’s 26th of the season, as he finished his day with a career high four hits, going 4-for-4 with an RBI. The multi-hit game was his 10th of the season and marked the fourth time in his career that he has had three or more hits in a game.
Another fellow senior Ryan Huck would add an RBI-single in the seventh, giving him 44 RBI this season. Huck would finish his day 2-for-5, good for the 52nd multi-hit game of his four-year career. Huck has now had two or more hits in four out of his last five games, and has nine hits in his last three games.
Regan Flaherty would extend his hitting streak to eight games with a two-out double in the ninth inning, driving in a run for his 33rd RBI of the season.
WKU starter Andrew Edwards would strike out five batters in 4.1 innings, while relievers Tim Bado and Jake Thompson would come in to toss 4.2 innings, striking out five, with Thompson going 2.2 innings, not allowing a hit with three strikeouts in his first appearance since April 23 against Kentucky. The 10 strikeouts on Saturday now give the Hilltopper pitching staff 424 on the year, which is just 56 strikeouts away from breaking the WKU single-season record.
The Hilltoppers and the Owls will wrap up the three-game series on Sunday at 12:00 PM on Senior Day, as WKU will honor seven seniors and its 2013 graduates prior to the game. Justin Hageman (2-1, 6.21 ERA) will get the ball for the Hilltoppers on Sunday looking to pick up his third win of the season, and remain perfect in conference starts this season.