BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In the first of two consecutive home Conference USA series, WKU
Baseball welcomes Charlotte to Nick Denes Field for a three-game set April 13-15.
The Thursday, Friday and Saturday contests begin at 5 p.m, 5 p.m and 12 p.m.,
This will be the first trip to Bowling Green for the 49ers since May 18, 1988, when
the Hilltoppers defeated the visitors by a score of 10-2 in the Sun Belt Tournament.
Overall, WKU holds a 2-0 all-time advantage over Charlotte, with the other win
coming via a 9-4 result in the Queen City on May 10, 1987.
The 49ers come into the series with a 17-16 overall record, including a 6-6 mark in
C-USA games. Charlotte has four starters in the lineup hitting .323 or better, led
by outfielder T.J. Nichting, who is slashing a team-best .384/.409/.594 with 18
extra-base hits and nine stolen bases. In their midweek game before heading West,
the 49ers fell to North Carolina A&T by a score of 12-6. Starting pitcher Matt
Brooks racked up four shutout innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts, but the
bullpen allowed a dozen runs in the final five.
With Easter Sunday approaching, the series will start a day earlier than usual and
challenges the Hilltoppers (11-22, 4-8) with their first Thursday contest of the
season after their Tuesday midweek matchup at Lipscomb was cancelled. The opening
game provides an intriguing pitching matchup between C-USA top strikeout man – WKU
lefty Ryan Thurston – and Charlotte righty Colton Laws, whose 1.16 ERA ranks third
in the league.
While Laws has allowed only seven earned runs in 54.1 innings, the Hilltoppers had
success the last time they faced a starter with that kind of resume. UAB righty
Garrett Whitlock came to Bowling Green on March 18 with only 14 hits and two earned
runs allowed, and WKU got 11 hits and seven earned runs off him in 6.1 innings
during a 9-6 victory to begin C-USA play.
The Friday pitching matchup will pin righty Paul Kirkpatrick gainst 49ers lefty Josh
Maciejewski. Kirkpatrick is coming off a 4-3 complete-game victory Saturday at UTSA,
which was the first by a Hilltopper since Justin Hageman in a 4-1 win vs. Texas
State on March 21, 2014; a span of 172 games in-between.
WKU center fielder Colie Currie as been the hottest hitter in the clubhouse
recently. After slashing only .213/.288/.426 in the first 13 games, Currie has a
.423/.470/.620 line over the past 20 with a 4-for-4 mark in stolen bases, while
reaching base in a team-best 12 straight. Overall, he has started all 33 games and
played every inning in center field.
On Saturday afternoon, Charlotte is expected to throw righty Zach Flanagan, while
WKU’s starter remains TBA at this time.
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