BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The WKU baseball team exploded for 10 runs in the final three innings, including plating six runs in the seventh inning to lead the Hilltoppers to an impressive 13-5 win over VMI on Friday at Nick Denes Field in game one of the three-game series.
WKU began its offensive surge in the sixth, as the Hilltoppers scored three runs on three hits after entering the inning down 5-3. Scott Wilcox tied the game with a two-RBI single, which was one of his career-high four hits on the day. WKU would take the lead on a Regan Flaherty RBI groundout to give the Hilltoppers the 6-5 lead. WKU would then blow it open in the seventh, as the Hilltoppers would send 10 batters to the plate, scoring six runs off three hits and one error. The big blow in the inning came from Regan Flaherty, who ripped a two-RBI triple to right field for his first career triple. Flaherty would finish the night 1-for-4 with three RBI.
WKU (5-7) would tack on one more insurance run in the eighth inning to secure a 13-5 win over VMI in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
The 13 runs by the Hilltopper offense tied for the most runs scored under head coach Matt Myers, as WKU also plated 13 runs on March 13, 2012 against Butler. The eight-run margin of victory on Friday is the most for WKU since beating Butler 13-1 in that same game in 2012. The 13 hits in the game are the second-most by the Hilltopper offense this season, as WKU had 15 hits in a 12-6 win over Central Michigan on February 23.
In all, eight different Hilltoppers picked up at least one hit on the day, as eight of the nine starters all had at least one hit, while all nine starters reached base at least once.
Freshman Trevor Lowe made his second career start in centerfield, turning in yet another impressive performance. The Bowling Green freshman went 2-for-4, scored three runs and had one RBI in his first start at Nick Denes Field. Lowe has now gone 3-for-8 with three RBI in the first two starts of his collegiate career.
Tanner Perkins (2-0) made his third start of the season and his first Friday night start, working 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits, while striking out four. As a staff, WKU struck out 11 VMI batters, marking the ninth time this season WKU has struck out at least 11 batters, which already matches its total from the 2012 season.
Left-handed reliever Austin Clay (2-0) picked up the win for WKU, working 0.2 innings of relief, striking out one. Taylor Haydel would pitch 1.2 innings out of the WKU bullpen, striking out three of the five batters he faced. Freshman Alex Mercer would close out the ninth for WKU, striking out a pair to preserve the 13-5 win.
WKU and VMI will square off in game two of the series at Nick Denes Field on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The entire weekend series will coincide with Military Appreciation Weekend, as all military personnel will receive free admission when they show a valid military ID and sign in at the gates. Friends and family may purchase additional tickets for $3.
Tickets for the weekend series, along with tickets for all remaining home games can be ordered online at WKUSports.com. Fans can also visit the WKU Ticket Office in E.A. Diddle Arena, or call 1-800-5 BIG RED.