BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In a back-and-forth midweek contest vs. No. 15 Louisville, a
five-run eighth inning was the difference for WKU Baseball in an 8-5 loss to the
visiting Cardinals. Steven Kraft went 3-for-4 to raise his season batting average to
.383 and extend his hit streak to 10 games.
The Hilltoppers took a 2-1 advantage into the fifth inning after solo homeruns by
Colie Currie in the second and Jacob Rhinesmith in the fourth.
Starter Troy Newell and reliever Michael Martin held Louisville to one run in the
first four frames, but the Cardinals struck for a pair in the fifth to take a 3-2
With Rhinesmith on first and Kraft on second in the bottom of the sixth, Tyler
Robertson hit a fly ball to right field with two out. It was misplayed and dropped
by Louisville right fielder Drew Campbell and both runners hustled in to score and
give WKU a 4-3 lead right back.
After relievers Conner Boyd and Austin Tibbs halted a Cardinals rally in the
seventh, Tibbs allowed a pair of singles with one out in the eighth.
In came Jacob Green from the bullpen, but the righty allowed both inherited runners
to score as well as one of his own. Righty Michael Darrell-Hicks was then brought in
with two on and two out, but Danny Oriente sliced a two-run single to right field to
give Louisville a five-run frame and a four-run lead.
2017 NCBWA Third-Team All-American righty Sam Bordner was asked to protect that lead
in the bottom of the ninth and the Hilltoppers would not go down easily. Chase
Larsen worked a nine-pitch walk, which was followed by singles from Richard
Constantine, Ray Zuberer III and Kraft.
But with the bases loaded, Bordner won nine-pitch battles against Rhinesmith and
Currie to end the game. He was forced to throw 44 pitches and allowed his first run
in 11 innings of work this season, as the Cardinals held on to strand the potential
game-tying run at first base.
WKU travels to Houston to take on Rice in the second weekend of Conference USA play.
It will be the team’s first road series since opening weekend at Memphis from Feb.
17-18. First pitch between the Hilltoppers and Owls on Friday, March 23 will be at