Hilltopper baseball cruises past Austin Peay for best start since 1982
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Baseball defeated the Austin Peay Governors for the 100th time in program history on Tuesday afternoon at Nick Denes Field by a score of 8-2.
The win marks the Hilltoppers’ fifth in a row bringing their overall record to 14-4, the best start to a season since 1982 when they started 17-4. WKU now holds a 100-62-1 mark over the Governors in a rivalry that dates back to 1933.
“I am proud of these guys so far for accepting me, embracing me and my staff. Coming in and bringing something 180 degrees different,” said head coach Marc Rardin. “They have done a really good job with that. There is still growing pains at times because it is baseball, but obviously overall, we are continuing to put ourselves in a good position. Today, it was about every pitcher that came out just doing their part and they did it well. We kind of just sprayed out six hits and really made the pitches when we needed to. On the offensive side, it was Eli Watson’s day. One thing about Eli [Watson] is the guy has not played a lot. I think he had two or three at-bats before today, but he was completely deserving of it. He never comes with bad body language to practice, in the game, or in the dugout. He is positive energy. He is great with the team. He is well deserving of this opportunity and the game rewarded him.”
RHP Cole Eigenhuis made his second consecutive midweek start on the mound, recording one strikeout in 2.0 frames, while giving up one run on three hits and one walk. Cam Tullar, Nic Schutte, Cal Higgins, Evan Jones, and CJ Weins all saw relief action, combining for three strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work while surrendering just one run and two walks with Tullar picking up his first win as a Hilltopper.
At the plate, WKU knocked nine hits, with two Hilltoppers recording multi-hit efforts. Eli Watson led the Tops offense in his first career start clocking his first career hit over the right field wall for a two-run home run. Watson finished the day with four RBI, in a 1-for-4 performance while scoring a run of his own and scoring two more off a sacrifice fly and an RBI hit by pitch. Drew Reckart stayed hot with a 3-for-5 effort with a pair of doubles, two runs scored, and an RBI, while Aidan Gilroy went 2-for-3 with two RBI, two runs scored, and a sacrifice fly.
The Governors put up the first run of the game in the top of the second off a sacrifice fly to go up 1-0.
A defensive fielding error from Austin Peay scored Aidan Gilroy to tie the game, and Eli Watson’s first career home run add two more to give the Tops a 3-1 lead going into the third.
The Hilltopper offense added another in the third with a sacrifice fly from Gilroy to extend the lead to 4-1.
WKU crossed three more in the fifth off an RBI double from Drew Reckart, an RBI single from Gilroy, and an RBI hit by pitch from Watson making the score 7-1.
Austin Peay added its second run of the game in the seventh with an RBI single putting the score at 7-2.
The Hilltoppers added an insurance run in the bottom of the frame with a sacrifice fly from Eli Watson putting the final run on the board and making the final tally, 8-2.
The Hilltoppers will hit the road to begin Conference USA play in a three-game series against Middle Tennessee beginning on Friday, March 17, starting at 6 p.m. CT in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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