WKU Baseball drops C-USA opening series against MTSU

WKU Baseball dropped its series finale to Middle Tennessee, 8-6, on Sunday afternoon in...
WKU Baseball dropped its series finale to Middle Tennessee, 8-6, on Sunday afternoon in Murfreesboro, Tenn.(WKU Athletics)
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 9:07 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The WKU Baseball team went on the “100 Miles of hate” and dropped it’s first Conference USA series of the season against MTSU 2-1.

On Friday, the Tops fell to Middle Tennessee 12-8 in its Conference USA opener.

The Blue Raiders scratched in the first off a pair of RBI singles to take a 3-0. Three more crossed for Middle Tennessee in the second by way of two more RBI singles to extend the lead to 6-0.

Lukas Farris put the Tops on the board in the third with a solo home run to left to make the score 6-1. The Hilltoppers edged closer in the fifth with an RBI single from Tristin Garcia and an RBI double from Kirk Liebert putting the score at 6-3. WKU edged within one after a two-RBI single from Aidan Gilroy in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-5.

AJ Fiechter gave the Tops their first lead of the night in the seventh with a two-RBI single to put them up 7-6.Middle Tennessee answered with four of its own in the bottom of the frame with a sacrifice fly, a two-RBI triple, and a sacrifice bunt to give them the lead, 10-7. In the bottom of the eighth, the Blue Raiders used a two-RBI single to extend their lead to 12-7. In a comeback effort, Fiechter knocked a two-out, RBI single to score another, but that would be all the Hilltoppers could create to make the final tally, 12-8.

Saturday was a different story though as WKU won game two, 8-4, claiming its first conference win of the season.

RHP Dawson Hall made his second consecutive Saturday start in his sixth appearance of the season. The freshman totaled three strikeouts in five innings of work with no runs on three hits and two walks on his way to earning his fourth win of the year. LHP Lane Diuguid, RHP Evan Jones, and RHP CJ Weins all made relief appearances following Hall’s departure. The three combined for two strikeouts in four innings while surrendering four runs on nine hits and one walk.  At the plate, WKU knocked six hits in an eight-run effort.

Lukas Farris was the lone Hilltopper to record a multi-hit effort. The freshman had three RBI in a 2-for-4 effort while Ricardo Leonett brought in two RBI himself with a two-out, two RBI double in the top of the ninth to help secure the win.

Then in the series closer, to determine the winner, Middle Tennessee pulled it out winning 8-6.

An RBI single from Tristin Garcia gave the Tops a 1-0 lead in the third inning. WKU crossed two more the following inning off a fielding error from the Blue Raiders to take a 3-0 lead. Middle Tennessee scratched for the first time in the fifth from an RBI single to make the score 3-1.

A two-RBI single from Drew Reckart in the sixth extended the Hilltopper lead to 5-1. The Blue Raiders used a throwing miscue to cross two more runs and cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the frame.

A solo shot from Ricardo Leonett gave the Tops a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh. An RBI single and a passed ball scored two more for Middle Tennessee to make it a 6-5 game going into the eighth inning. The Blue Raiders took the lead in the eighth, scoring off a wild pitch and a two-RBI single and mark the final runs of the game to take the victory, 8-6.

The Hilltoppers drop to 15-6 overall and 1-2 in Conference USA after this first weekend of league play.

The Hilltoppers will hit the road for a midweek matchup against the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday, March 21, starting at 5 p.m. CT in Louisville, Ky.