BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- WKU senior pitcher Justin Hageman struck out seven in eight scoreless innings Friday night at Nick Denes Field while the Hilltopper bats pounded out 14 hits in blanking UALR (17-23, 5-14 SBC) in the series opener, 8-0.
Hageman did not allow a base runner to enter scoring position after the third inning and struck out four of his seven batters looking to pick up his fifth win of the year. He scattered four hits and rolled the Trojans into three double plays, giving WKU 40 double plays on the year. Hageman’s victory gives him 19 for his career, moving him into a tie for eighth place all-time at WKU.
He led a Hilltopper defense that pitched its second shutout of the year and its first in a Sun Belt Conference game since blanking Louisiana-Lafayette 3-0 on March 30, 2013. WKU’s offense supported Hageman’s sixth quality start of the season with eight runs on 14 hits, which was headlined by home runs from senior outfielder Regan Flaherty and junior shortstop Cody Wofford.
After senior outfielder David Simmons plated junior designated hitter Philip Deidrick with a fielders’ choice RBI in the second inning, Flaherty jacked a three-run homer over the right field fence to put WKU in control at 4-0. The bomb was Flaherty’s second of the year, both of which have come in conference action. Sophomore outfielder Anderson Miller capped WKU’s five-run second frame with an RBI single through the right side.
Senior second baseman Scott Wilcox led the offense with three hits, one of which drove in two more Hilltopper runs in the fourth inning. Simmons walked and freshman third baseman Leiff Clarkson roped a double down the left field line to put a pair of runners in position for Wilcox, who delivered with a single up the middle to make the count 7-0, WKU.
Wofford ended WKU’s scoring in the fifth inning with a solo shot to left field. Wofford’s home run was his fourth of the season as he finished his night 2-of-3 with an RBI and run scored. He was one of five Hilltoppers to record multiple hits in the game, joining Wilcox, Miller, Simmons and junior first baseman Ryan Church.
Freshman reliever Sam Higgs finished things off for WKU in the ninth inning, retiring the side in nine pitches.