BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The WKU bats came alive at the right time on Saturday at Nick Denes Field, as the Hilltoppers plated a pair of runs in both the seventh and the eighth innings, coming from behind to beat VMI 4-3 after trailing 3-0 entering the seventh inning. The win was the second in a row for the Hilltoppers (6-7), who will go for their first series sweep of the season on Sunday.
WKU had been unable to solve the VMI pitching staff through the first six innings, managing just two hits. However, catcher Ryan Messex opened the seventh inning with a lead-off single, followed by a walk from Griffith Roark. After a sacrifice bunt from Trevor Lowe, freshman Thomas Peter delivered a two-RBI single to left-field to get WKU on the board at 3-2.
The Hilltoppers would get right back to work in the eighth, as Ryan Huck ripped a one-out single to centerfield to start yet another rally. With David Simmons pinch-running, freshman Anderson Miller delivered his first career triple on the very first pitch from VMI pitcher John Garrett, scoring Simmons from first to tie the game. Ryan Messex, the very next batter, would give the Hilltoppers their first lead of the game with an RBI-double to make it 4-3, which would hold as the final.
Freshmen Thomas Peter and Anderson Miller combined to drive in three of WKU’s four runs on the day, while senior Ryan Huck and sophomore Ryan Messex were the only Hilltoppers with multi-hit games.
Sophomore Ian Tompkins (1-1) picked up the win on the mound for WKU, working the final 1.2 innings in relief, striking out five of the seven batters he faced, including striking out three in the ninth inning to win it for WKU. In all, the WKU pitching staff struck out 11 VMI batters for the second-straight night, which marks the 10th time this season the WKU staff has struck out 11 or more. That total already surpasses the total for the entire 2012 season when WKU struck out 11 or more nine different times.
Hilltopper starter Andrew Edwards tossed six innings for WKU, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out five. Tate Glasswork worked 1.1 innings in relief of Edwards, not allowing a hit, while striking out one.
The Hilltoppers have now won 23-straight games when leading after eight innings, and have now outscored the opposition 14-1 in the eighth inning in 2013.
WKU and VMI will wrap up the three-game series on Sunday at 11:00 AM. The game was originally scheduled for 1:00 PM on Sunday, but the game was moved up with the threat of rain moving into the area.
Tickets for Sunday’s game, along with tickets for all remaining home games can be ordered online at WKUSports.com. Fans can also visit the WKU Ticket Office in E.A. Diddle Arena, or call 1-800-5 BIG RED.