BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Baseball junior outfielder Jake Sanford was named a 2019
Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist on Thursday afternoon, then went 2-for-4 with his
22nd homerun and 19th double of the season in the evening. He improved his slash
line to .412/.496/.859 in 51 games, with 65 runs batted in, 61 runs scored and 171
The Hilltoppers lost by a score of 15-1 to visiting Old Dominion, however, and fell
to 24-26-1 overall and 15-12-1 in Conference USA play. The Monarchs out-hit WKU
23-to-4 on the day; shortstop Kevin Lambert went 2-for-2 with a walk, producing his
16th multi-hit game of the year and 32nd in his career on The Hill.
Starters Reece Calvert and Tommy Gertner went toe-to-toe for the first four innings,
with Sanford’s solo homerun with one out in the bottom of the fourth being the
difference as the Hilltoppers took a 1-0 lead into the fifth frame. But after
allowing three singles through the first four innings, Calvert gave up six straight
one-base hits to start the fifth and Old Dominion took a 5-1 lead. From then on out,
the Monarchs added 14 more hits and 10 more runs over the final four innings against
Calvert and a trio of WKU relievers.
WKU and Old Dominion will play Game 2 of the series at 5 p.m. on today. The
Hilltoppers will have their Senior Night celebration at 4:30 p.m., when the team and
fans will recognize 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, 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
NCBWA Names 2019 Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalists
Sanford joined an exclusive group on Thursday afternoon along with 25 other Division
I baseball players, who are up for the annual national award for the outstanding
collegiate baseball player. Sanford is 1-of-5 outfielders to make the list and the
lone player from C-USA. He becomes the first WKU player to earn the honor since Ryan
Bicondoa in 2002, when the righty went 11-2 with five complete games in 16 starts.
Bicondoa finished his senior season with a 2.56 earned run average and 150
strikeouts with only 106 hits allowed in 123 innings pitched.
The Dick Howser Trophy, is given in memory of the former Florida State University
All-America shortstop and major league player and manager, who died of brain cancer
in 1987. It is regarded by many as college baseball’s most prestigious award, as the
baseball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers
Association (NCBWA) votes for the recipient based on nominees’ performance,
character, leadership and courage – all features to be emulated in memory of the
late Dick Howser.
With Thursday’s long ball, Sanford moved into sole possession of fifth place on
WKU’s single-season homerun charts and became only the fifth hitter in Division I to
reach the 22-dinger plateau in 2019. It marked the 12th-consecutive weekend series
in which the junior has hit at least one homerun.
With 104 total bases in 28 C-USA games, Sanford has set a new league record, passing
Ryan Jones of East Carolina, who had 103 in 2004. With his 14th homerun in C-USA
action, Sanford has tied a league record with six other players, most recently Matt
Wallner of Southern Miss in 2017.