BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In WKU Baseball’s final series before the 2019 Conference USA
Tournament, the club faces one of the hottest teams in the league in Old Dominion.
The Hilltoppers and Monarchs will play a Thursday-to-Saturday, three-game set from
May 16-18, with first pitch times of 5 p.m., 5 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
Thursday’s opening contest will feature righty Reece Calvert of WKU against lefty
Tommy Gertner of Old Dominion.
It will be a busy weekend at Nick Denes Field, with the Hilltoppers’ Senior Night
celebration on Friday, when the team and fans will celebrate five WKU elders
(Calvert, Nick Brunson, Joe Filosa, Jacob Green and Troy Newell). Also on Friday
night, it will be Hill’s Pet Nutrition Bark in the Park on Friday night, with each
canine receiving a free WKU red dog bandana. Finally, the Hilltopper Athletic
Foundation will host its Appreciation Night, with free admission, food and drinks
for all members who RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Then, on Saturday afternoon, the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free
100th Season red t-shirt. Members of the 2009 NCAA Regional team will also be in
town for an unofficial reunion celebration; those in attendance will be recognized
on the field prior to first pitch.
* WKU and Old Dominion will meet for the 12th, 13th and 14th times on the
diamond, with the Monarchs holding a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series over the
Hilltoppers. The clubs have not faced off over the past two seasons due to C-USA
* WKU took 2-of-3 from Old Dominion in Bowling Green 2015, then the Monarchs
came back the following season and swept the Hilltoppers at the Bud Metheny
Baseball Complex in Norfolk, Va.
* WKU and Old Dominion overlapped in the Sun Belt Conference from 1982-to-1991,
but never faced off in a series. The teams met seven times in in the league
tournament, with the Monarchs taking 3-of-5 from the Hilltoppers in those games.
* WKU past week recaps: FRIDAY at Louisiana Tech (W, 5-4)
SUNDAY DH at Louisiana Tech (L 1-6  & L, 3-8 )
TUESDAY at Austin Peay (L, 12-20)
* After defeating the Bulldogs in the opening game on May 10, the Hilltoppers
were 24-22-1 overall and riding a five-game Conference USA win streak with a
15-9-1 record in league play. But after Saturday’s game was postponed, WKU was
swept in a doubleheader on May 12 in a pair of seven-inning contests at Ruston
High School and fell in Clarksville, Tenn., to the Governors to drop to 15-11-1 in
league play and 24-25-1 overall.
* Even though the Hilltoppers did not play on Saturday, they officially clinched
a berth in the 2019 C-USA Tournament for the first time since joining the league
prior to the 2015 season. When Middle Tennessee lost to FIU by a score of 7-3, WKU
was mathematically guaranteed to finish above the bottom four teams in the league.
* Junior Richard Constantine made his return to the Hilltopper lineup on Tuesday
after missing the previous 14 games with an injury. The Huntsville, Ala., native
picked up right where he left off, going 2-for-4 with his sixth homerun of the
season, a double, two runs batted in and three scored. Since earning a permanent
spot in the WKU lineup in early April, he is slashing .410/.455/.949 with six
homeruns, three doubles, 18 runs batted in and 11 scored in his past nine games.
* On Tuesday, first baseman Matt Phipps and freshman center fielder Jackson
Swiney each hit a pair of homeruns at Raymond C. Hand Park. The duo combined to go
6-for-9 with nine runs batted in and seven scored, with each WKU hitter adding a
double as well. Constantine and Swiney hit back-to-back dingers to beging the
fourth inning, marking the first such occurrence since Kevin Lambert and Wyatt
Featherston on the same field on April 25, 2017, in the infamous 22-17 victory
over Austin Peay. WKU totaled five homeruns as a team for the first time since
March 6, 2017, at Belmont.
* On Friday, the Hilltoppers trailed 3-1 after three innings and recorded their
12th come-from-behind win of the season, including the sixth in C-USA play. In all
12 comeback wins, WKU has trailed by at least two runs at the height of the
* In Game 1 on Sunday, Sanford cracked his 21st dinger of the season, moving
into a four-way tie with Mike Williams (1981), Mike Roy (1985) and Chad Cregar
(2008) for fifth on WKU’s all-time single-season charts. In addition, with 64 runs
batted in for the year, the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native moved into 10th on the
single-season program ranks. He trails Matt Rice for ninth place, as the catcher
had 65 in 2010.
* In Game 2 on Sunday, left fielder Aidan Elias skied a 3-1 offering from
Bulldog lefty Logan Bailey deep over the left-field fence for a solo homerun, the
first of his collegiate career. The long ball continues the incredible comeback
story of the Lexington native, who has recovered from shattering both of his
kneecaps in October of 2017 to become a utility outfielder for the Hilltoppers
OLD DOMINION PREVIEW
* The Monarchs enter the weekend with a 33-18 overall record and are 14-13 in
C-USA play after sweeping the Thundering Herd over the weekend and going to Lexington, Va, in
midweek to defeat the Keydets. Since beginning league action with a 1-8 record,
Old Dominion has gone 13-5 and won six consecutive series.
* The Monarchs are led by head coach Chris Finwood, who was at WKU for six
seasons from 2006-to-2011, compiling a 190-154 record. Old Dominion assistant
coach Logan Robbins was a player on those teams, lettering for the Hilltoppers