Caleb Bruner returns to mound, pitches 3 innings for WKU

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In WKU Baseball’s first of back-to-back midweek games, the Hilltoppers lost to Lipscomb by a score of 10-4 on Tuesday evening. Nathan Methvin led the way with three hits, raising his season batting average to a team-best .368 mark, while pitcher Caleb Bruner made his first appearance on the mound in 11 months and pitched three innings.

Bruner allowed two runs in the first inning, but responded by facing the minimum over the next two. The righty allowed a single to Josh Martinez in the second frame, but induced a 9–6 double play on a flyout with the runner on the move to double off the Lipscomb (6-2) runner.

The second time through the order, the Hilltoppers (3-5) put the tying runs up on the board. Thomas Peter led off the fourth inning with his first hit by pitch of the season and Methvin followed with a double to the wall in right-center. Kevin Lambert scored Peter on an RBI groundout, then Steven DiPuglia – starting at third base for the first time in his WKU career – laced a two-out single over the second baseman’s head to knock in Methvin.

But Lipscomb responded with five runs in the next two innings to pull ahead 7-2, and despite scoring runs in each of the final two frames, the Hilltoppers were unable to close in on the Bisons.

“Our team has continued to work hard and it won’t come easy,” head coach John Pawlowski said. “These guys have a good mindset, the right mentality, we just haven’t been able to put it together and play our best baseball yet.”

“It was rocky at first, but after I got through the first inning it got easier, that’s for sure,” Bruner said. “But my arm felt great and I’m glad to be back contributing to the team.”

Topper Notes
1. At the plate, WKU walked a season-high seven times and added nine hits. Only once through eight games have the Hilltoppers had fewer than eight hits (four at Belmont). Nathan Methvin’s three base knocks tied for most by a WKU player this season (Kaleb Duckworth vs. Jacksonville State on Feb. 25).
2. Center fielder Colie Currie added his fourth multi-hit game of the season, which included an RBI double in the seventh inning to bring the Hilltoppers within a 7-3 score. He has driven in a team-high eight through eight games. Kevin Lambert did not get a hit, but walked twice – both on full counts – to extend his team-best on-base streak to eight games.
3. Conner Boyd remained perfect Tuesday, getting the only batter he faced – Jeffrey Crisan – to fly out to end the fifth inning. In four appearances so far this season, Boyd has retired all eight hitters he has faced and stranded all 10 inherited runners.

Play of the Day
With WKU trailing 5-2 in the sixth inning, Lipscomb had a runner on third base with one out and the Hilltoppers brought the infield in. At the plate, Blake Thomas hit a grounder to the left side of the infield, which Kevin Lambert snagged with a diving play. Lambert, starting at shortstop for the first time this season, did not go to the plate, but got Thomas at first base for the second out.

What’s Up Next
Exactly 24 hours after Tuesday’s first pitch, the WKU leadoff hitter will step into the box at Cliff Hagan Stadium at 3 p.m. CT in Lexington. The Hilltoppers open the month of March against Kentucky in the first of a home-and-home series on the season, which will see the Wildcats visit Bowling Green Ballpark on March 21. Starting pitchers are TBA.

How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Baseball, follow the program via social media @WKUBaseball on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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