HOUSTON, Texas — Righty Paul Kirkpatrick did something Sunday that had not been
accomplished in nearly 11 years by a WKU Baseball pitcher. The senior spun a
complete-game shutout to power the Hilltoppers to a 4-0 victory and a series win
The last complete game shutout on the road by a WKU pitcher was by Matt Ridings in a
2-0 win at Middle Tennessee on May 18, 2007. Meanwhile, the last complete game
shutout of any kind was by Andrew Edwards in a 3-0 win vs. Louisiana-Lafayette on
March 30, 2013.
It was Kirkpatrick’s second complete game in as many Division I starts in the state
of Texas. Last season at UTSA, the Austin native retired 15-of-16 Roadrunners to cap
the game with five scoreless innings in a 4-3 victory in San Antonio on April 8.
It was Kirkpatrick’s second complete game of the season, as he previously went the
distance in a 9-3 victory over Bowling Green on March 10. In that performance, the
righty allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk, but also struck out a
career-high 11 Falcons. He becomes the first WKU pitcher with multiple complete
games in a season since Tim Bado had a pair in 2012.
Kirkpatrick allowed four singles, three of which were ground ball choppers through
the infield, with zero walks. He threw 101 pitches, 66 for strikes, and only allowed
an Owls baserunner to reach second base once all game.
The Hilltoppers put up two runs in the third and fourth innings to give Kirkpatrick
all the lead he would need.
The bottom of the order got things going in the third, as Kevin Lambert drew a
leadoff walk and Nick Brunson ripped a double into the left-field corner, his first
hit on The Hill. Colie Currie chopped a ground out to shortstop that scored Lambert,
then Steven Kraft followed with a double to left-center that brought in Brunson.
In the fourth, Luke Brown led off with a double to right field and Colin Butkiewicz
followed with a hit by pitch. Lambert showed bunt on the next play, but pulled it
back and chopped an RBI single up the middle with the Rice defense in motion.
A few batters later, following a Currie walk to load the bases, Kraft ripped his
third hit of the day into left field to bring home a second run and give WKU a 4-0
* WKU’s offense produced another 10-hit game, the team’s 13th double-digit hit
game in the first 24 games. In comparison, it took the 2017 Hilltoppers 42 games
to reach that mark.
* WKU has posted posted two shutouts in the first 24 games. No Hilltopper team
has had three shutouts in a season since 2009.
* Of Paul Kirkpatrick’s 27 outs, 14 came via ground ball, six were fly outs and
seven were strikeouts. He utilized ground-ball double plays to end the third and
fourth innings, ending up with only 30 batters faced on the afternoon.
* Luke Brown posted his second consecutive multi-hit game after not having one
in his first nine starts. The double to lead off the fourth innings was his first
extra-base hit as a Hilltopper.
* Steven Kraft tied his season-high marks of three hits and two walks. In
addition, his two stolen bases tied a career high, previously posted on April 18,
2017, at Murray State.
WKU travels to Eastern Kentucky for a midweek contest on Tuesday, March 27. The
Hilltoppers will be looking for revenge two weeks after the Colonels took a 7-5 win
at Nick Denes Field. First pitch at Earle Combs Stadium in Richmond, Ky., will be at