LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Second baseman Nick Brunson gave WKU Baseball a one-run lead on
two occasions, but the Hilltoppers were unable to hold either as No. 7 Louisville
came through with an 11-4 win on Tuesday night.
After 1-2-3 first innings fired by both starters, lefty Dalton Shoemake and righty
Jack Perkins, Brunson hit a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left-center field to put WKU
ahead 1-0 with two outs in the top of the second.
“The numbers they were putting up with the velocities of their pitchers were
tremendous; they have a very good pitching staff. We don’t see that all the time,
but we stood in there and battled and put some good swings on it today. They
pitched well, hit well and played well tonight, that’s a very good club,” head
coach John Pawlowski said. “The scoreboard might not indicate it, but our guys played hard.
Our guys competed, they always have and they always will continue to get after it. This
team has faced a lot of injuries, but we have faced it tremendously and with
But back came the Cardinals with a three-spot in the bottom of that inning against
Shoemake to take a 3-1 lead, including a two-run homerun down the left-field line by
reigning ACC Hitter of the Week Alex Binelas.
Following a scoreless third frame fired by both Perkins and freshman righty Hunter
Crosby, the Hilltoppers began the top of the fourth with a rally. Right fielder Jack
Wilson struck out, but reached on a wild pitch on strike three, then center fielder
Jake Sanford followed with an eight-pitch walk.
First baseman Matt Phipps came up next, and struck a double off the top of the wall
in left-center field that scored Wilson, moved Sanford to third base and knocked
Perkins out of the game.
Shortstop Kevin Lambert greeted righty reliever Bryan Hoeing with a sac fly that
scored Sanford and moved Phipps the third, then Brunson chopped a single over the
third baseman’s head to bring home Phipps and give WKU a 4-3 lead.
The visitors would be held scoreless the rest of the way, however, as the Cardinals
tallied three in the fourth and fifth, and then another two runs in the seventh.
* Brunson’s homerun was his first of the season and second of his career on The
Hill. The senior’s first long ball came on May 6, 2018, at Charlotte and was also
a solo shot. The Champaign, Ill., native went 2-for-4 in the game with two runs
batted in, posting his seventh multi-hit game of the season and third multi-RBI
game of his career.
* Righties Eric Crawford and Maddex Richardson posted scoreless outings for the
Hilltoppers. Crawford completed 1.1 frames and side-skirted four baserunners along
the way. Richardson posted a zero in the bottom of the eighth, stranding a pair of
two-out hits in scoring position.
* Sanford started in center field for the fourth-consecutive game in place of
injured freshman Jackson Swiney. The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native posted a
season-high eight put-outs and recorded his fifth outfield assist of the year in
the fifth inning. The junior went 0-for-3, but his walk in the fourth frame pushed
his on-base streak to 28 straight games.
WKU hosts Rice for the three-game Conference USA series from May 3-5, a
Friday-to-Sunday set at Nick Denes Field. Game times are set for 5 p.m., 1 p.m. and
1 p.m., respectively. The Hilltoppers defeated the Owls 2-to-1 in last season’s
matchup in Houston at Reckling Park. With an 11-9-1 league record, WKU trails
third-place Rice — who is 12-9 — by 1/2 a game. Louisiana Tech stands in fourth
place, also with a 12-9 mark, but was swept by the Owls last week.