BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- WKU Baseball suffered its second loss of the season to in-state rival Kentucky, as the Wildcats defeated the Hilltoppers by a score of 15-4 on Tuesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Right fielder Jake Sanford went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored, pushing his slash line to a season-high .423/.500/.885. It was his fourth four-hit game of the year and 14th multi-run game of the season. Entering the day, a .885 slugging percentage would lead the nation, while a .423 batting average would rank sixth. He also has 138 total bases that would rank second, 66 hits that would rank seventh and 51 runs that would rank eighth.
Visiting Kentucky (21-20) hit six homeruns — including three by right fielder Ryan Johnson — that accounted for nine of the team's first 11 tallies. The Wildcats matched their run output in the first head-to-head matchup, which was a 15-0 win at Kentucky Proud Park on March 21.
Through four innings it was a 2-1 game, with righty Jeff Ciocco and lefty Jack Lambert holding Kentucky to two runs on four hits through the first four frames. WKU got on the board when first baseman Jack Wilson led off the bottom of the fourth by working an 11-pitch walk and Sanford followed with a single to the gap that put runners on the corners. Designated hitter Dillon Nelson grounded a single into left field to score Wilson, but the remaining two Hilltoppers were stranded by starter Dillon Marsh.
The Wildcats hit three solo homeruns and scored a run on a wild pitch over the next two frames to extend their lead to 6-1 before the WKU offense got going again in the bottom of the sixth. This time, it was a leadoff single by Wilson followed by a double into the right-field corner by Sanford that put a pair of runners in scoring position for Nelson. The junior from Omaha, Neb., came through with a sacrifice fly to right-center that scored Wilson and moved Sanford to third, and he would later score on a wild pitch.
The 6-3 deficit would be as close as the Hilltoppers (18-20-1) would get, however, as Kentucky scored nine runs over the final three innings. Sanford doubled with one out in the eighth for his fourth hit of the night and later scored on a two-out, RBI single by shortstop Kevin Lambert.