BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In a well-rounded performance from start to finish, WKU
Baseball started its Conference USA series against Florida Atlantic with a 6-4 win
Friday night. Thomas Peter went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a homerun, while
gunning down the potential game-tying run at the plate in the eighth inning.
Peter extended his club lead of 14 doubles and 11 long balls on the season, while
improving his OPS to .921 to take an ultra-slim .002-point lead over Hunter Wood,
whose now stands at .919.
The Hilltoppers jumped on Owls’ starter Alex House in the first with two runs on
four hits, including RBI base knocks from Wood and Peter. Kaleb Duckworth added a
third run on a solo homerun to begin the third inning, his seventh of the season,
over the WKU bullpen in left field.
Ryan Thurston started off with four scoreless frames before allowing three runs in
the next two innings – which included a pair of FAU solo homeruns – and the game was
tied at 3-3. But the lefty got through 6.1 innings with just that damage, putting
together his third consecutive start of three runs or fewer.
WKU re-took the lead with another three hits and two runs in the sixth. Peter led
off with a double and was brought in by Chris Rogers’ second base hit of the night.
Kevin Lambert grounded an RBI single up the middle after a Tyler Robertson sacrifice
bunt, his C-USA-leading 13th of the season.
Still the Owls kept coming, as after Jackson Sowell came in to strand the bases
loaded in the seventh, the visitors picked up a run in the eighth to bring the game
back within one. Then with two outs and runners on first and second, David Miranda
lined a single in front of Peter in right field. Jared Shouppe, representing the
tying run, rounded third base and headed for home, but was greeted by a Peter pill
to the plate and a tag from Wood for the third out.
Just when the fans at Nick Denes Field thought that might be Peter’s final firework
of the night, he took reliever Sean Labsan deep down the left-field line in the
bottom half of that same frame to extend the lead back to two. Sowell then finished
his 2.2-inning save with a 1-2-3 ninth and the Hilltoppers had their first C-USA
victory of the weekend.
Play of the Day
After WKU took a 2-0 lead heading into the top of the second, Ryan Thurston faced
runners on second and third with one out. After striking out Pedro Pages, No. 9
hitter Eric Rivera lined a bullet down the left-field line, which was speared by the
extended glove of Bryson Smith. The third baseman saved a pair of runs and helped
keep the Owls off the board.
What’s Up Next
The second game of the weekend series pins righties Paul Kirkpatrick of the
Hilltoppers against Blake Sanderson of FAU. The Austin, Texas, native will match
Thurston with his 13th start of the year, while Sanderson has two under his belt so
far this season among 13 appearances. First pitch will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday
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