BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — With an opportunity to match its best league start in 10 years,
WKU Baseball hosts Charlotte at Nick Denes Field. Due to weather concerns on
Saturday, the three-game series will feature a doubleheader on Friday, March 29
starting at 3 p.m., then the finale on Sunday, March 31 at 12 p.m.
It will be righty Eric Crawford and lefty Troy Newell for the Hilltoppers in the
doubleheader, while the 49ers will send righties Matt Brooks and Bryce McGowan to
The Hilltoppers enter the series having won three games in a row, sporting a 12-11
overall record and a 5-1 Conference USA mark. WKU boasts its best six-game start in
league play since 2013 in the Sun Belt Conference. The 2009 club began its league
season with an 8-1 record through nine games.
* Charlotte holds a 5-3 advantage in the all-time series, having won 5-of-6
games against the Hilltoppers over the past two seasons as C-USA foes.
* The 49ers swept WKU in a three-game set in 2017, then took 2-of-3 from the
Hilltoppers in Charlotte in 2018.
* Previously, WKU twice defeated the 49ers by a score of 9-4 in Charlotte in
1987, then by a score of 10-2 in the 1988 SBC Tournament.
* Right fielder Jake Sanford was named Conference USA Hitter of the Week on
Monday, the seventh WKU player to earn the award over the past five years.
* Over the past two games, Sanford has gone 6-for-11 with five homeruns, nine
runs scored and 15 batted in over his past two games. That’s a slash line of
.545/.545/2.000 while accounting for 19 of the Hilltoppers’ 27 runs scored.
* For the season, Sanford has 12 homeruns — which is tied for third in Division
I and is more than 114 teams by himself. He is tied for eighth in the nation with
35 runs batted in, tied 28th with 29 runs scored. He also ranks seventh with a
.846 slugging percentage and sixth with 77 total bases.
* On Friday, pitchers Eric Crawford and Dalton Shoemake combined to allow only
two runs in eight innings, but FIU lefty Logan Allen spun 8.2 frames of one-run
ball to defeat the Hilltoppers by a score of 2-1.
* On Saturday, WKU rallied from a 4-2 deficit after eight innings to score three
runs in the top of the ninth and win by a score of 5-4. Hilltopper lefty Troy
Newell had career-highs of 7.1 innings pitched and nine strikeouts, while only
walking one and allowing two earned runs.
* On Sunday, WKU defeated the Panthers 15-1 in seven innings to record the
team’s first run-rule victory since a 17-2 win — also at FIU — on April 19, 2015.
Hilltopper righty Reece Calvert pitched a complete game, facing the minimum and
keeping FIU off the board in the last six frames.
* The Hilltoppers allowed only seven runs against the Panthers, the fewest
allowed in a three-game series since March 25-27, 2016, vs. Middle Tennessee, when
WKU allowed only six runs.
* WKU is 10-4 this season when holding opponents to six or fewer runs, 11-1 when
scoring five or more runs and 7-2 when scoring first.
* The Hilltoppers 6-2 in one-run games, 5-0 when their starting pitcher goes
five-plus innings and 8-2 when out-hitting their opponent.
* The 49ers enter the series with an 11-13 overall record and a 3-3 C-USA
in the league-opening series from Old Dominion, then falling in 2-of-3 to the
Thundering Herd last weekend.
* Catcher Harris Yett rides a 12-game hit streak into the series, hitting a
team-best .385 at the plate. Over the last 10 games, Yett has hit .436 at the
plate, including .444 in the last five. Second baseman Carson Johnson leads the
team with nine multi-hit games on the year. In his first year in C-USA, Johnson
has a .320 average through the first six games of league play and sports a .415
average in his last 10 overall.
* Relievers Colby Bruce and Patrick Szczypinski have anchored the 49ers bullpen
in recent weeks. Over the last 10 contests, Bruce has a pair of saves and a 1.23
ERA with 10 strikeouts over 7.1 innings. Szczypinski holds a 2.16 ERA with eight
strikeouts over his last 8.1 innings of work.
* Junior righty Matt Brooks will be back on the bump in Friday’s series-opener
after missing the past three weeks due to injury. Brooks had a 3-0 record and a
1.40 ERA in three starts to open the 2019 season.
* Military Appreciation Weekend: All military personnel will receive free
admission with valid identification on both days.
* Friday Doubleheader: One ticket will be good for admission to both contests.
* Sunday: Free American flag t-shirts for the first 100 fans in attendance.
* Sunday Funday: Children aged 12 and under receive free admission, and a kid’s
lunch special that includes a hot dog, bag of chips and can of soda will be $5.
After the game, children are invited to run the bases with Big Red.
Flexible season ticket packages are now available for purchase, including 30 tickets
for $50 that can be used at any of the 29 home games throughout the 2019 campaign.
Fans can purchase tickets HERE, by calling 1-800-5-BIGRED
or in person at the WKU Ticket Office during business hours.