SAN ANTONIO, Texas — WKU Baseball used stellar pitching and timely hitting to secure
a 4-2 victory on Sunday afternoon and a 2-to-1 series victory at UTSA. The
Hilltoppers won their fourth Conference USA series of the season and improved to
20-21-1 overall and 11-9-1 in league play. With 11 C-USA wins, WKU matched the
team’s total from 2018.
“This win came from deep down inside, that was a gutsy win today. We’re down a
few guys, but the offense kept grinding. This was a tough weekend against a very
good club on the road, so it was great for us to win two out of three,” head
coach John Pawlowski said.
On the mound, the trio of Joe Filosa, Jacob Green and Bailey Sutton combined to
throw the Hilltoppers’ first two-hitter since Feb. 17, 2013, vs. Bowling Green. At
the plate, first baseman Matt Phipps and shortstop Kevin Lambert each had a pair of
run-scoring hits to account for WKU’s four runs batted in.
After deciding to start righty A.G. Yowell on Sunday, the freshman did not last long
for the host Roadrunners. The freshman walked left fielder Ray Zuberer III and
center fielder Jake Sanford each on four pitches to bring Phipps at the plate. The
cleanup hitter wasted no time, depositing an RBI single to left field to drive home
Zuberer and knock Yowell out of the game after facing four hitters and getting one
out 15 pitches.
Bryan Arias led off the bottom of the first with a solo homerun to center field —
his third long ball of the series — off Filosa to tie the game at 1-1. It looked
like it was bound to be another high-scoring contest, but that was not the case as
the pitchers from both teams settled in after the first frame.
Filosa did not allow a hit over the next three innings, although two walks and a
throwing error on an attempted pickoff scored one for the Roadrunners in the fourth
frame to tie the game at 2-2. The Hilltoppers had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the
third when Lambert drove in right fielder Jack Wilson with a two-out single to
WKU responded in the fifth inning with what would be the game-winning run. Wilson
led off with a base hit to center field and moved to third on Sanford’s team-best
15th double of the season to right-center field. Lambert came through once again,
this time with a ground out to third base that allowed Wilson to score and give the
visitors a 3-2 lead.
From then on out, Green and Sutton combined to hold the Roadrunners scoreless with
six strikeouts, allowing only one ground-ball single the rest of the way. Green
walked a pair in the eighth inning with two outs, but Sutton picked him up with a
strikeout out of the bullpen.
The Hilltoppers added an important insurance run in the ninth to give the pitching
staff a two-run cushion. With two outs, Wilson and Sanford both reached base, then
Phipps grounded an RBI single into left field that brought Wilson around to score
and make it a 4-2 game.
Sutton walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the frame, but responded by
striking out the side in order to secure WKU’s 11th league win of the year, matching
the team’s total from 2018 with three series to go in the 2019 campaign.
* Pitchers Tanner Perkins, Andrew Edwards and Ian Thompkins were the 2013 trio
to complete a two-hitter against the Falcons, a 4-3 win at Nick Denes Field. The
Hilltoppers’ last one-hitter was completed by John Harman and Kevin Elder on April
10, 2015, in a 5-0 win vs. Southern Miss.
* WKU won for the first time this season when scoring fewer than five runs.
Previously, the Hilltoppers were 0-16 in such games. The club is now 10-1 in C-USA
action when allowing five or fewer runs.
* WKU improved to 7-10 on the road, 14-14-1 in day games, 6-3-1 on Sunday’s, 7-6
in back jerseys, 10-4 when scoring in the first inning, 15-4 when out-hitting the
opponent and 16-12-1 when holding the opponent to one or zero homeruns.
* Sanford went 1-for-3 with a double and two walks, pushing his season slash
line to .419/.505/.874 while starting all 42 games and playing each and every
inning in right or center field. His homerun in Saturday’s game marked the
ninth-consecutive weekend in which the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native has hit at
least one homerun.
* Wilson went 2-for-4 with a hit by pitch for the 14th time this season and
scored three runs to tie a career-high for the fourth time. It was his 16th
multi-hit and eighth multi-run performance of the year, as he improved his slash
line to .333/.444/.435 in his 41st start.
* Phipps posted his 11th multi-hit game and sixth multi-RBI effort, while
catcher Collin Hopkins notched his second multi-hit performance with a 2-for-4 day
at the plate. Lambert’s two runs batted in made for his fifth multi-RBI game of
the season and 12th of his WKU career.
The Hilltoppers face a tall task in their second-to-last midseason matchup,
traveling to No. 7 Louisville on Tuesday, April 30 for a 5 p.m. CT first pitch. The
Cardinals have a 35-9 overall record on the season and have won 12-of-13 after
sweeping Alabama A&M in a three-game set, outscoring the Bulldogs 61-to-7 in the