BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Despite 8.2 innings of one-run baseball tossed from the WKU pitching staff, the Hilltoppers fell to Austin Peay 3-1 Wednesday night at Nick Denes Field after the Governors’ Jordan Hankins lined a game-winning, two-run double to left centerfield in the ninth inning.
The four combined runs were the fewest in a WKU-Austin Peay tilt since 1984 when the Governors won a 2-1 decision. The loss also snapped WKU’s three-game winning streak against Austin Peay in Bowling Green, who hadn’t won at Nick Denes Field since March 26, 2008. WKU has now lost two-straight home games for the first time since its season opening series against Bowling Green State. The Hilltoppers have won 11 out of their last 15 games at home.
Sophomore Ryan Messex’s RBI-single in the second inning kept WKU in front 1-0 until the eighth inning, but a run in the eighth and Hankins’ two-RBI double in the ninth propelled Austin Peay to its 24th win this season. WKU dropped to 16-13 on the year.
Defense dominated the night as the teams combined for 11 hits, four of which came after the seventh inning. Junior right-handed pitcher Jake Thompson earned the second start of his career and threw five innings of scoreless baseball, surrendering just one hit and striking out three batters in his longest outing as a Hilltopper.
Messex rapped out two of WKU’s four hits on the evening, marking his ninth multi-hit performance of the year. Shortstop Scott Wilcox and outfielder Regan Flaherty were the only other Hilltoppers to record a hit, as four pitchers from the Governors’ bullpen only allowed a pair of base runners and did not give up a hit.
WKU used six pitchers on Wednesday, after using seven in the previous game against Austin Peay on March 6 in Clarksville, Tenn. Three true freshmen made consecutive appearances for WKU, as Jackson Sowell, Alex Mercer and Josh Bartley combined to throw three innings, allowing just one run.