BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Despite an early 3-0 lead, WKU Baseball was not able to hold
off Conference USA-leading Florida Atlantic on Easter Sunday, falling by a score of
6-4. Second baseman Nick Brunson tied a career-high with three base knocks, while
right fielder Jake Sanford and left fielder Ray Zuberer III each produced multi-hit
Through two innings, starter Joe Filosa was able to keep the Owls off the board
despite the visitors loading the bases in each frame. Meanwhile, the Hilltopper
offense came through with two runs in the first and another tally in the second.
“Coming in, we knew that Florida Atlantic was one of the best teams in the
league and I thought our guys competed very well against them. We came out today
with the right mindset, but ultimately we weren’t able to take care of business. I
thought our pitchers did a good job today of limiting the damage. They had
multiple runners on base, but when you hold the top-hitting team in the league has
six runs on a Sunday, there are some positives to that,” head coach John Pawlowski said.
Zuberer led off the first with a single to right field and moved to third on
Sanford’s 12 double of the season off the right-field wall. Designated hitter Dillon
Nelson followed with a run-scoring ground out, then catcher Matt Phipps flipped his
eighth double of the year down the right-field line to make it a 2-0 game.
In the next frame, third baseman Sam McElreath led off with a walk and moved to
third on Brunson’s fourth double of the season off the left-field wall. Zuberer
followed with a run-scoring ground out to push the lead to 3-0, but WKU could not
scrape another run across against reliever Jacob Josey, stranding the bases loaded
on an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play.
Florida Atlantic shipped away with a solo homerun by Bobby Morgensen in the third,
then a solo shot from Joe Montes to begin the fourth, both against Filosa. The Owls
added one more in the sixth on an RBI double by Andru Summerall that scored
Francisco Urbaez, then another in the seventh when Montes singled home Mitchell
Hartigan; both of those runs were charged to reliever Jacob Green.
After being shut out in innings 3-through-6, the Hilltoppers responded with the
game-tying mark in the bottom half of the seventh. After Nelson worked a one-out
walk and Phipps drove his second double of the game to center field, freshman center
fielder Jackson Swiney lined his team-leading fifth sacrifice fly to the warning
track in right field to knot the score at 4-4.
But the Owls responded in the top of the eighth, with a pair of two-out, RBI hits by
Hartigan and Wilfredo Alvarez to regain the lead at 6-4. WKU put the tying run on
first base in the bottom of the ninth after Sanford led off with a single and Nelson
was hit by a Zach Schneider pitch. With one out, Swiney lined another ball to deep
right field, but it was caught by Morgensen at the warning track, as Schneider
secured the two-run win to claim his 10th save of the season.
* Sanford went 2-for-3 to post his team-best 18th multi-hit game, while also
adding a pair of intentional walks. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native has five
intentional walks on the season, and became the first Hilltopper to be awarded two
intentional walks in a game since Anderson Miller on April 4, 2015 at Louisiana
* WKU fell to 5-3-1 on Sunday’s, 4-2-1 when wearing white caps, 13-5-1 when the
opponent’s starting pitcher goes fewer than five innings, 4-15-1 when being
out-hit, 4-7 when allowing two or more homeruns, 8-1 when leading after the first
inning, 0-14 when scoring fewer than five runs.
With an 18-19-1 overall record, WKU heads into its next midweek challenge against
in-state, SEC rival Kentucky, who stands at 20-20 on the season. The Hilltoppers and
Wildcats will face off with a 5 p.m. first pitch on Tuesday at Bowling Green
Ballpark, the home of the Hot Rods. Temperatures nearing 80 degrees are expected on
Tuesday and the first 250 students in attendance will receive a free red t-shirt.