BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Junior catcher Ryan Messex smacked two doubles, drove in two RBI, scored a run and was stout defensively behind the plate for WKU Tuesday night at Nick Denes Field as the Hilltoppers defeated Austin Peay 5-2.
The win marked WKU’s seventh in the past nine meetings with Austin Peay (10-18) and snapped a five-game midweek losing streak. The victory also improved the Hilltoppers to 15-14 on the season.
Messex finished the game 2-of-3 at the plate, caught two Governor runners stealing and picked off another. His gun down ability ended the fourth, fifth and sixth innings for Austin Peay. Messex got WKU’s scoring started with a two-out RBI double in the fourth inning to knot the game at 1-1 and put WKU in front 3-1 with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. It marked the 25th time in Messex’s career that he posted multiple hits in a game and ninth occasion he drove in two or more runs.
Freshman starter Sam Higgs picked up his team-leading fourth win of the year after working a career high five innings of one-run baseball. After surrendering a sac fly in the first inning, Higgs responded by retiring 10-straight batters and finished his outing with just four hits allowed.
WKU trailed 1-0 until the fourth inning when Messex and sophomore outfielder Anderson Miller gave the Hilltoppers a 2-1 advantage with back-to-back two-out RBI. Messex’s double put WKU on the board and scored junior first baseman Ryan Church while Miller followed with a single that plated Messex.
The Hilltoppers led 3-1 after Messex’s sac fly in the sixth and tacked on two big insurance runs in the seventh when senior second baseman Scott Wilcox roped a double down the right field line to score junior shortstop Cody Wofford and freshman third baseman Leiff Clarkson. Four of WKU’s five RBI came in two-out situations and the Hilltoppers led 5-1 after Wilcox came through in the clutch.
Junior reliever Tate Glasscock worked a season-high two innings and struck out a season-high three batters in the sixth and seventh innings. Closer Ian Tompkins, who didn’t toss a single pitch at No. 1 Louisiana-Lafayette over the weekend, worked 1.2 innings and struck out five while surrendering a run. Junior Brennan Pearson picked up his first save of the year and third of his career with a game-ending, bases loaded strikeout.