BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - WKU pitchers Tanner Perkins and Andrew Edwards combined to toss 8.2 innings on Sunday in the series finale against Bowling Green State, allowing no earned runs and only two hits on the day, leading the Hilltoppers to a 4-3 win to close out a three-game series against the Falcons.
The left-handed Perkins received the starting nod on Sunday, making his first start since March 9, 2012. Coming off of an arm injury last spring, Perkins cruised through four innings of work by retiring 11-of-13 batters, allowing just one hit and surrendering no runs, while striking out one. Perkins led the Hilltoppers to their first win of the 2013 season, while earning his 13th career win in the process.
All three games in the opening series were decided by one run, marking the first time since the 2000 season that WKU has played three-straight one-run games, and marks the first time in WKU history that the Hilltoppers have opened the season with three consecutive one-run decisions.
The Hilltoppers (1-2) picked up their first lead of the series in the opening inning on Sunday, scoring three runs in the opening frame, aided by a two-RBI single from Devin Kelly and an RBI single from Ryan Huck. Kelly and Huck led the charge for the WKU offense throughout the series, as the two sluggers combined to drive in six of WKU's 14 runs during the series, while combining for seven hits. Huck would add his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth.
Hilltopper reliever Andrew Edwards made his WKU debut in the top of the fifth inning, coming on in relief of Perkins. Edwards was nearly flawless, working 4.2 innings, striking out nine batters, while giving up only one hit, which came in the ninth inning. Edwards allowed only four base-runners, with three reaching in the ninth inning following an error.
Trailing 4-0 with two outs in the ninth, Bowling Green State would make things interesting, plating three runs following a pair of Hilltopper errors. With the tying run at second base, WKU sophomore Ian Tompkins came on to shut the door, striking out Andrew Kubuski to preserve the win for the Hilltoppers, while earning his first career save in the process.
In all, the WKU pitching staff struck out 37 Bowling Green State batters over the three-game series, marking the most for a Hilltopper pitching staff in a three-game series since striking out 40 batters April 27-29 last season against ULM.
Freshman third baseman Thomas Peter made his first career start at third base on Sunday, finishing with a pair of hits and a pair of runs scored. For the series, Peter went 3-for-6, with one double. In all, the WKU newcomers accounted for eight of the 24 WKU hits on the weekend, with Peter and outfielder Regan Flaherty each finishing with three hits.
WKU returns to Nick Denes Field on Friday, February 22 for the first of three games with Central Michigan. First pitch is set for 3:00 PM (CT) Friday, 2:00 PM on Saturday and 1:00 PM on Sunday.