Hilltoppers bring the big bats to beat No. 14 Dallas Baptist
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Baseball defeated No. 14 Dallas Baptist, 11-7, in the series opener on Thursday night at Horner Ballpark.
With the win, the Hilltoppers improve to 31-22 (16-12 in C-USA) while the Patriots drop to 40-13 (23-5 in C-USA). This marks WKU’s first win over a ranked opponent since May 15, 2021, against No. 23 Old Dominion, 7-6, in Houston, Texas.
“We came in excited. We came in with respect for them,” said head coach Marc Rardin. “You can have respect and not be scared, not be intimidated. You know that you have to do a lot of your best to be in it, and our best was pretty good tonight. We still had a lackadaisical inning and gave them at least two to three runs out of those four. I truly believe this should have been a 12-3 maybe 12-4 ballgame.”
The first three innings were scoreless with only one hit allowed from each side, before WKU soared out to a four-run lead in the top of the fourth inning. Tristin Garcia poked one into the right center gap, scoring Ty Crittenberger all the way from first to break the 0-0 tie. Two pitches later, Lukas Farris launched a long ball to left center, extending the lead to 3-0 before Kirk Liebert connected for a solo blast to right field on the very next pitch, giving the Tops their first back-to-back home runs of the season.
The Patriots didn’t take long to respond, using three straight singles to put their first run on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With two runners on, a three-run home run from Dallas Baptist tied the game at 4-4 after four innings.
In the very next inning, Lukas Farris barreled his second big fly of the day with a three-run bomb to right center to take the lead once again, 7-4, in the top of the fifth, forcing DBU to make a pitching change going into the sixth inning.
WKU struck again in the top of the sixth, with a two-out rally that saw Ty Crittenberger single to the opposite side, scoring two runs and giving the Tops their biggest lead of the day, 9-4. Although, the Patriots did not go down quietly. In the bottom of the frame. their second three-run homer of the night caused a pitching change for the Hilltoppers, after their five-run lead had been diminished to two runs.
The Hilltoppers fourth long ball of the night came by way of Ty Batusich in the top of the seventh. The sophomore launched a two-run bomb to extend the lead back to four, 11-7, which eventually end up being the final score.
LHP Lane Diuguid earned his second win of the season, claiming one strikeout in 5.1 innings of work while allowing seven runs on seven hits and one walk. RHP Mason Burns relieved Diuguid in the sixth and was perfect throughout the remainder of the game, striking out four batters in 3.2 frames without allowing a hit or a walk.
Lukas Farris notched, a season-high, five RBI in a 2-for-5 outing with two home runs and two runs scored while Kirk Liebert recorded his first three-hit game of the year in a 3-for-5 night with a home run and two runs scored. Ty Batusich and Ty Crittenberger each claimed two RBI a piece, with Batusich going long in a 1-for-3 performance while Crittenberger was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
The Hilltoppers continue their series against Dallas Baptist beginning at 2 p.m. CT on Friday, May 19 at Horner Ballpark in Dallas, Texas.
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