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Toppers pour on runs before downpour to sweep Racers

MURRAY, Ky. — Started by five stellar innings by Jeff Ciocco and ended by a
torrential downpour – with a five-run comeback in-between – WKU Baseball outlasted
Murray State by a score of 8-5 on Tuesday night. The freshman retired the first 11
batters he faced and got through five scoreless innings before running into trouble
in the sixth.

It was a 0-0 game heading into the Racers’ half of the sixth, when a walk and single
brought in the bullpen. Ciocco’s night was done after a career-high 5.1 innings and
only 67 pitches; the righty struck out three and allowed only four baserunners. By
the time Logan Weins got the second and third outs, the hosts jumped out to a 5-0
lead.

But back came WKU in the following frame, sending 11 men to the plate and scoring
six runs in the process. The Hilltoppers generated six walks, a hit by pitch and
three hits – including a game-tying, bases-clearing, three-run double off the bat of
Thomas Peter into the left-field corner.

After Peter was thrown out at third on the play, it seemed as though the inning
might stymie. But a single by Steven Kraft and a Grayson Ivey walk brought up Tyler
Robertson. Two weeks after the second baseman had defeated Murray State with a
walk-off sacrifice play, he provided the game-winning hit in this one, dropping a
single into center field to score Kraft for the go-ahead run.

Now a 6-5 game, Jackson Sowell relieved Weins in the seventh frame and earned his
third save of the year with three strikeouts in 1.2 scoreless innings. The
Hilltoppers got a run in the each of the next two innings on wild pitches, and the
game was called with one out in the top of the ninth after an errant Racers pitch
that scored Robertson to make it an 8-5 final.

Topper Notes
1. It was the first road midweek win for the Hilltoppers, as they completed the
sweep of Murray State in the home-and-home series.
2. WKU drew nine walks, which was second-most this season to the 10 at Eastern
Kentucky on March 8. Meanwhile, the pitching staff allowed a season-low four
hits.
3. Steven Kraft started at designated hitter and had the lone multi-hit game for
the Hilltoppers. He also walked, scored a run and stole two bases for the first
time in his career.
4. Over his past four outings, Jackson Sowell has thrown 5.1 innings, allowing
only one hit while striking out nine hitters, lowering his earned run average from
5.11 to 3.57.
5. Tyler Robertson went 1-for-3 with two walks to stretch his hitting streak to
seven games, while Bryson Smith started at third base for the sixth straight game,
boasting at least one base knock in each.

What’s Up Next
Exactly 23 hours after Tuesday’s first pitch, the Austin Peay leadoff hitter will
step into the box at Nick Denes Field at 5 p.m. WKU goes up against the Governors in
the first of a home-and-home series on the season, which will see the Hilltoppers
visit Clarksville, Tennessee on April 25. The visitors will throw righty Tyler
Thompson, while head coach John Pawlowski’s starter remains 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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