BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In a contest that saw 26 runs scored, 33 hits, 12 free bases
and 360 pitches thrown, WKU Baseball and Charlotte played to a 13-13 tie on Sunday
afternoon when the clubs reached the agreed-upon curfew time after nine complete
The Hilltopper offense featured five multi-hit, five multi-run and four multi-RBI
performances, but once again it was right fielder Jake Sanford leading the way. The
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, five driven in and
his 14th homerun of the season — a two-run shot to left-center in the seventh — that
put WKU ahead by a score of 13-11.
“The team’s disappointed, obviously, both teams had their chances to win the
game but the curfew ended up getting us. I really like the way our team competed,
with how we were down in two situations. Give our offense credit, they were
relentless again today and put us in a position to win it. Unfortunately we
didn’t, but take away the positive that we didn’t lose either,” head coach John
Sanford put an exclamation point on his otherworldly month of March, where he went
30-for-76 with eight walks and slashed .411/.476/1.041 in 18 games. He hit 14
homeruns and four doubles, while scoring 26 runs and knocking in 34. While playing
every inning in right field, he had 43 putouts and three outfield assists with zero
After being named Conference USA Hitter of the Week on Monday, Sanford made his best
case for back-to-back honors. He went 12-for-20 with two walks and slashed
.600/.636/1.400 in four games. He hit five homeruns — including three on Tuesday at
Eastern Kentucky — with eight runs scored and 15 batted in.
Following a scoreless first, things got a little crazy.
The Hilltoppers took a 2-0 lead in the second on back-to-back sacrifice flies by
shortstop Kevin Lambert and third baseman Sam McElreath. But the 49ers responded
with a six-spot in the third with four runs charged to starter Reece Calvert and
another two to reliever Collin Lollar after a three-run homerun by designated hitter
Rafi Vazquez made it a 6-2 lead for the visitors.
In the bottom of the fourth, WKU tied it up at 6-6 with bases-loaded free bases to
left fielder Ray Zuberer II and first baseman Davis Sims, then a two-strike, two-run
single by Sanford.
Each club scored five in the fifth frame. Charlotte used five hits and two
Hilltopper throwing errors, while WKU used a walk and five hits, including a
game-tying, two-out, two-run single by second baseman Jack Wilson as the score
With the contest tied 11-11 going into the sixth, righty Joe Filosa helped the
Hilltoppers hold the 49ers scoreless in the sixth, seventh and eighth frames. The
graduate senior toed the rubber in the top of the ninth with a two-run lead, but
Charlotte put forth a rally.
With the bases loaded and two outs, WKU appeared to have the game won on a soft
ground ball, but a fielding error scored one and extended the inning. Then, with a
1-2 count against first baseman Dominick Cammarata, an inside fastball was ruled to
have scraped the arm of the 49er for the game-tying, bases-loaded hit by pitch.
Filosa and head coach John Pawlowski argued that the ball ticked the bat of
Cammarata instead, but it was to no avail as the umpires congregated in the infield
and stuck with the initial ruling.
“It’s a weird feeling, you don’t expect to tie a game in college baseball. …
This game was like a roller coaster, it was up and down, but we just kept battling
and sticking with it. This whole series showed that we’ll battle through no matter
what and we’ll fight all the way to the end,” right fielder Jake Sanford said.
Filosa remained in the game and got an inning-ending fly out to Sanford in right,
then the Hilltoppers went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth against Charlotte
righty Colby Bruce. With the clock reading 3:39 p.m., both teams exited their
dugouts and met to shake hands on the Nick Denes Field turf.
The Toppers swept the first two games of the series to win it.
* This is the first 18th tie in WKU history and the first since a 6-6 final at
Cumberland (Tenn.) on April 11, 1991, a span of 1,552 games in-between.
* Sims went 2-for-4 to with two runs scored and two driven in to push his
team-best on-base streak to 22 games.
* Swiney went 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored, tying his freshman
season-high — previously on Feb. 17 vs. Northern Kentucky — with three base hits.
Entering the weekend with a .222 batting average, the St. Louis, Mo., native went
6-for-11 to push that number to 261.
WKU travels to Nashville to take on No. 6 Vanderbilt on Tuesday, April 2, with a
first pitch time of 6:30 p.m. The Commodores were 22-5 and ranked No. 1 in the RPI
heading into Sunday’s game, but fell to Tennessee at Hawkins Field by a score of
7-6. The game will be streamed on SEC Network +.