BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The WKU baseball team sent eight batters to the plate in the ninth inning and put the tying run at second base with only one out, but back-to-back strikeouts by Central Michigan pitcher Matt Trowbridge preserved a 4-2 win for the Chippewas over WKU in the series opener on Friday at Nick Denes Field.
WKU (1-3) scored its only two runs of the game in the ninth inning, loading the bases with just one out after Scott Wilcox reached on an error. Trowbridge would strike out the next two Hilltoppers, however, as WKU would leave the bases loaded to end the game. The Hilltoppers had opportunities throughout, leaving 10 men on base during the course of the game.
WKU starter Tim Bado kept the Hilltoppers in it early, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning. In fact, both Bado and Central Michigan starter Jordan Foley did not allow a hit through the first three innings, as Foley held WKU hitless until the fifth. Bado (0-1) went 4.2 innings, allowing a career-low two hits, while striking out seven. In Bado's two starts in 2013, the senior has 12 strikeouts and has allowed only six hits, sporting an ERA of 2.61.
Central Michigan (2-3) tacked on runs in three different innings on Friday, capped off by a two-run sixth inning to extend the lead to 4-0. WKU put runners in scoring position in six of the nine innings, including having six players reach third base, with only two coming around to score.
The WKU pitching staff as a whole struck out 11 Central Michigan batters on Friday, marking the fourth consecutive game that the WKU staff has struck out double-digit batters in a game. For the season, the Hilltopper pitchers have struck out 48, and currently boast a 3.41 ERA through four games.
WKU freshman Josh Bartley made his Hilltopper debut out of the WKU bullpen, working 3.1 innings, allowing no runs on just two hits, striking out three. For the year, the WKU bullpen has surrendered just four earned runs in 21.2 innings of work through four games.
WKU and Central Michigan will be back at it at 2:00 PM (CT) on Saturday at Nick Denes Field.