TROY, Ala. – WKU Baseball returns to Sun Belt Conference action this weekend as it begins a three-game series with the Trojans of Troy at Riddle-Pace Field Friday night at 6 (CT). First pitch times for Saturday and Sunday are set for 6 p.m. and 1 p.m.
The Hilltoppers (18-15, 6-6 SBC) are coming off a league series win against second-place Arkansas State and enter the weekend in fourth place in the Sun Belt Conference standings. Troy (17-17, 4-7) sits in eighth after a 4-7 start to league play and was most recently swept by No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette at home last weekend.
Eighteen conference games remain for WKU and all come against teams currently below them in the league standings. Despite being fourth in the Sun Belt standings, WKU has the second-highest RPI of any league team at 46.
The Trojans lead the all-time series 22-13 but WKU has won four of the past six meetings during the past two seasons in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers are searching for their first series win in Troy since 2009. In the 2013 series meetings, WKU bounced back from a Friday night loss to win a pair of one-run decisions on Saturday and Sunday. Former Hilltopper Blake Crabtree provided the heroics in the finale, cranking a walk-off homer in the 10th inning to lift WKU past Troy.
Senior right-handed pitcher Justin Hageman is riding a three-game winning streak and will get his usual Friday night start against the Trojans. Hageman is sporting the league’s lowest ERA at 2.49 and will face Troy right-hander Tanner Hicks (2-5, 3.76 ERA). Saturday will be a lefty duel between WKU’s Austin Clay (4-2, 5.23 ERA) and reining Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year Shane McCain (3-3, 2.67 ERA). Neither team has decided on its Sunday starter.
WKU’s offense is being led by the red-hot Anderson Miller, who was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week on Monday after racking up 12 hits, five RBI, five runs, three doubles and a home run in WKU’s 4-1 home stand last week. Miller’s big week upped his average to .371, which leads WKU and ranks third in the Sun Belt Conference. Junior first baseman Ryan Church leads the way in RBI (23) and extra-base hits (11).
Troy’s offense has been balanced as five players have tallied 20 or more RBI through 34 games this season. The Trojans have 100 extra-base hits in 2014, 28 of which are home runs. David Hall leads the way with a .333 average and six home runs.
All three games can be heard online by WKUSports.tv subscribers or on local airwaves at ESPN 1450 AM. The Voice of the Hilltoppers Randy Lee will be on the call. Social media updates can be found on Twitter at @WKUSports, @WKU_GameDay and @WKUBaseball. For more information on WKU Baseball, visit WKUSports.com.