BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - WKU scored one run in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie on Sunday at Nick Denes Field, then added one more insurance run in the eighth to pad a 4-2 series win over Central Michigan. WKU (3-3) scored the game’s final three runs after trailing 2-1 heading to the bottom of the third, marking the Hilltoppers second consecutive come-from-behind victory.
Sunday’s win gave WKU its first series win of the 2013 season, and improved the Hilltoppers to 42-22 all-time against current members of the Mid-American Conference. WKU has now won 23-straight games when leading after seven innings.
WKU and Central Michigan were locked in a 2-2 tie for three-straight innings before WKU finally broke the tie with a Regan Flaherty RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Matthew Paculan from third. Flaherty finished the game a perfect 2-for-2, and has now hit safely in all six games in 2013. The junior-college transfer went 4-for-11 against Central Michigan in three games, including his second career two-RBI game on Sunday.
WKU’s top of the order did the majority of the damage for the Hilltopper offensive attack, as Thomas Peter, Scott Wilcox and Flaherty went a combined 6-for-8 in the game, as all three picked up two hits. Wilcox’s two hits gave the junior infielder 100 hits in his Hilltopper career, reaching the plateau in just 91 career starts. Wilcox bumped his average up to .391 after going 5-for-10 in the series against Central Michigan, including hitting safely in five of his final six at-bats.
For the series, WKU out-hit the Chippewas 30-19, while hitting .278 with runners in scoring position after hitting .200 in the season-opening series against Bowling Green State. The WKU bats came alive over the final two games, as the Hilltopper offense produced 25 hits and 16 runs in the final pair of games against Central Michigan.
Left-handed junior Tanner Perkins got the start on the mound for WKU on Sunday, working 4.0 innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits, while striking out six. The six strikeouts were the most for Perkins since striking out seven against ULM on April 29, 2011.
Perkins gave way to reliever Jake Thompson, who continued the stellar performance of the WKU bullpen, working 4.0 innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out five. Sophomore Ian Tompkins came in to shut the door in the ninth, working a one-two-three final inning to earn his second save of the season. Thompson (1-1) got the win for WKU.
The Hilltopper bullpen has now thrown seven-straight scoreless innings, while allowing just five earned runs in 32.0 innings in 2013 for a just a 1.40 ERA. As a team, WKU struck out 11 Central Michigan batters on Sunday, marking the fifth time this season that the WKU staff has struck out at least 10 batters.
Central Michigan starting pitcher Rick Dodridge (1-1) took the tough-luck loss on Sunday, working 6.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on eight hits.
WKU will be back in action on Tuesday as the Hilltoppers will hit the road for the first time in 2013. WKU will travel to Belmont for a 4:00 PM (CT) contest in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, before returning to Bowling Green to face the Bruins at Nick Denes Field on Wednesday. Tickets are available for Wednesday's game, along with all remaining WKU home games by visiting WKUSports.com, by visiting the WKU Ticket Office in E.A. Diddle Arena, or by calling 1-800-5 BIG RED.