BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Trailing 4-1 halfway through the game, WKU Baseball mounted a
comeback effort but fell short against visiting Austin Peay by a score of 5-3.
Lefty Jack Lambert fired the final four frames for the Hilltoppers at Nick Denes
Field, allowing only four baserunners and one run with a career-high four
strikeouts. Right fielder Jake Sanford hit his Conference USA-leading seventh
homerun of the season in the bottom of the eighth to bring the score within two.
WHEN YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW! 🤷♂️@jake_sanford96 connects on a mid-90’s fastball from Leban for this solo 🌙 MOON SHOT 🌙 past the scoreboard!
APSU 5, WKU 3 | After 8 pic.twitter.com/0m1XNFlCAU
— WKU Baseball (@WKUBaseball) March 20, 2019
Freshman Hunter Crosby returned to the bump and bounced back after not recording an
out and allowing four runs in his most recent start on Saturday vs. UAB. On Tuesday,
the righty shut out the Governors through the first four innings on 61 pitches,
allowing only four baserunners with two strikeouts. He was aided by three double
plays turned by the WKU defense.
“Hunter Crosby went out there and did what he needed to do, he got us into the
fifth inning and I was proud of the way he threw the ball and competed out there
today. We wanted to run him back out there and try to get some more confidence
going in him,” said head coach John Pawlowski. “I thought Crosby did a great job
to start the game and Jack Lambert did agreat job to finish it up, we just gave
away some runs in that middle inning. Our pitching staff has made some strides,
you look at the low-scoring games we’ve been in, guys are starting to settle in roles.”
But Crosby allowed back-to-back singles to start the fifth and was removed for
junior Jeff Ciocco. Righty relievers Ciocco, Maddex Richardson and Reese Brewer each
recorded an out for the Hilltoppers in the inning, but combined to allow five
baserunners that followed the first two as Austin Peay pushed four runs across to
take a 4-1 lead in what turned out to be the decisive frame.
The Governors actually added one off Lambert in the top of the eighth before WKU
scored two in the bottom of the inning. Infielder Sam McElreath led off with a
double to right field, moved to third on a balk and sprinted home on a sacrifice fly
by freshman center fielder Jackson Swiney.
One out later, Sanford launched a 3-1 pitch from Austin Peay righty Greg Leban for a
solo homerun to right-center field. He becomes the second-straight Hilltopper to hit
seven long balls within his first 20 games of the season, matching center fielder
Jacob Rhinesmith. The future 18th round MLB Draft pick of the Washington Nationals
hit his seventh homerun in the 16th game of the 2018 campaign.
After a second 1-2-3 frame turned in by Lambert in the top of the ninth, WKU was
also retired in order in the bottom half by Governors’ closer Brett Newberg, who
recorded his third save of the year. Righty Tyler Thompson allowed one run in five
innings of work to secure the first victory of his junior season, and move Austin
Peay to a 9-9 overall record.
WKU takes its 9-10 overall mark and 3-0 league record back into C-USA play, as the
Hilltoppers travel to Miami for a three-game set at FIU. The Friday, Saturday and
Sunday game times will be 6 p.m., 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. CT, respectively.