BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The WKU baseball team brought the tying run within 90 feet with less than two outs in both the seventh and the eighth innings, but were unable to scratch across a run, falling to Bowling Green State on Saturday at Nick Denes Field, 3-2.
The one-run decision marked the second-straight one-run game for WKU to open the season, which is the first time since 1952 that a WKU baseball team has played back-to-back one-run games to begin a season. WKU fell in extra-innings 9-8 on Friday to Bowling Green State, with the Falcons pushing across the eventual game-winning run in the top of the 10th after the Hilltoppers rallied from being down 8-1 earlier in the game.
WKU senior left-handed starter Tim Bado got his 2013 campaign off to a good start on Saturday, limiting the Falcons to just two runs on a career-low four hits, striking out five and walking none in 5.2 innings of work. In fact, after WKU walked eight Bowling Green State batters on Friday, the Hilltopper staff allowed just one free pass on Saturday, striking out 13 batters as a staff. The 13 punch-outs by the WKU pitching staff was the most since striking out 14 batters on March 30 of last season.
Junior Jake Thompson came on in relief of Bado, working 1.1 innings in his Hilltopper debut, striking out 3 batters, allowing one run, which ended up being the eventual game-winner. Sophomore Tate Glasscock capped off the Hilltopper pitching effort, working the final two innings, striking out a career-high five of the six batters he faced.
Bowling Green State pitchers were equally impressive on Saturday, as three Falcon pitchers combined to allow two runs on seven hits, with starter Mike Frank working five innings, allowing just one run on three hits.
WKU was led offensively by senior first baseman Ryan Huck, who belted his first home run since April 8 of last season, connecting on his 18th career home run in the second inning to tie the game at 1-1. Huck finished the game going 2-for-2, reaching base three times on the afternoon.
WKU would answer Bowling Green State's first two scores of the game, as pinch-hitter Devin Kelly singled home Scott Wilcox in the bottom half of the sixth to tie the game, but Regan Flaherty was thrown out at home trying to score from second base, holding the game at a 2-2 tie. Bowling Green State would re-gain the lead for good in the top half of the seventh, as an RBI-single from Brian Bien gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead and the eventual win.
Jake Thompson (0-1) took the loss for WKU, while Brett Fitzwater (1-0) picked up the win for Bowling Green State, and Ethan McKenney earned a three-inning save, tossing the final three innings of the game, allowing just one hit.
The Hilltoppers will send junior left-handed starter Tanner Perkins to the mound on Sunday, as Perkins will make his first start since March 9, 2012. Perkins suffered a season-ending injury following that March 9 start. First pitch on Sunday is set for 1:00 PM (CT) from Nick Denes Field. The game will be the first Social Media Sunday of the 2013 season, as fans can visit the WKU Facebook and the WKU Twitter page to find a discounted Centerplate item for tomorrow's game.