BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Looking to get back on track leading into the Conference USA
portion of the 2019 schedule, WKU Baseball will face a road test at Kentucky on
Wednesday, March 13, with first pitch at 3 p.m. CT at Kentucky Proud Park. It will
be the 1000th career game as a head coach for John Pawlowski, who boasts an overall
career record of 572-426-1 in his time at College of Charleston, Auburn and WKU.
WKU fans can follow along on the SEC Network + live stream and listen to the
broadcast on the Hilltopper-IMG Sports Network.
* The Hilltoppers and Wildcats have met 63 times on the diamond, with Kentucky
holding a 35-28 advantage in the all-time series. The Wildcats boast a 22-15
record in home games.
* WKU and Kentucky first met in 1967, with the Hilltoppers winning by a score of
9-7 in Lexington. Since 1995, the programs have played at least once every season
except for 2005.
* WKU will need a win to avoid its first four-game losing streak against the
Wildcats since a seven-game skid from 1992-95. Kentucky has edged the Hilltoppers
in back-to-back meetings, ending in 4-3 defeats.
* WKU and Kentucky will play again in 2019 when the Wildcats come to Bowling
Green Ballpark on April 23. It will be the six-year anniversary of the longest
game in Hilltopper history, when WKU defeated Kentucky by a score of 3-2 in 18
innings. Outfielder Trevor Lowe hit a walk-off homerun to win the contest.
* Right fielder Jake Sanford has been a power threat for the Hilltoppers. The
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native ranks 59th in Division I with four homeruns, 55th
with a .722 slugging percentage, 54th with 39 total bases and 25th with seven
doubles. His 12 extra-base hits (seven doubles, one triple and four homeruns) are
tied for second among Conference USA hitters. With a homerun in his
fourth-straight game on Friday, Sanford became the first WKU hitter to accomplish
the feat since catcher Jordan Newton from April 18-23, 2006. He failed to hit a
homerun for a fifth-straight game on Sunday, but went 4-for-5 with two doubles to
post the first four-hit day of 2019 by a Hilltopper.
* First baseman Davis Sims has been just as productive, boasting a team-best
10-game hit streak going into Wednesday’s matchup. For the season, his
.333/.373/.519 slash line is catching up to his .333/.403/.552 mark over the past
two seasons at Murray State. In 128 career games, the Paducah native has 100 runs
scored, 111 driven in, 19 homeruns and 50 doubles — which rank tied for sixth
among active Division I hitters.
* Designated hitter Dillon Nelson also had a productive series at the dish vs.
Memphis, going 7-for-13 with three doubles, one homerun, three runs scored and six
batted in. The Omaha, Neb., native pushed his season slash line from
.229/.289/.257 to .313/.353/.458 in only three games. Along with Sanford (14),
infielder Jack Wilson (10), catcher Matt Phipps (nine) and Sims (9), Nelson’s 11
runs batted in gives the Hilltoppers five players with nine or more on the year.
* Speaking of Wilson, the Elizabethtown native leads qualified WKU hitters with
a .386 batting average and .481 on-base percentage. He reached base in 8-of-12
plate appearances against the Tigers, going 6-for-10 with the bat plus one walk
and one time hit by pitch.
* The Wildcats enter the week with an 11-4 overall record after sweeping the Blue
Raiders over the weekend. Kentucky also plays on Tuesday afternoon, hosting SIU
Edwardsville for a midweek contest.
* Coming into the week, the Wildcats were led by left fielder Ryan Shinn and
designated hitter T.J. Collett, who typically bat second and third in the lineup.
Shinn boasts a .341/.473/.659 slash line with a team-high 10 extra-base hits and
14 runs scored. Collett, meanwhile, has hit a team-best four homeruns with 16 runs
batted in. With lefty Mason Hazelwood starting against the Cougars on Tuesday,
Kentucky will likely start lefty Dillon Marsh or righty Jimmy Ramsey in the
Wednesday matchup against the Hilltoppers.
* Newly constructed Kentucky Proud Park is a $49 million facility that was
completed just prior to the 2019 season. The stadium is complete with permanent
seating for 2,500 as well as stone terraces, grass berms and a 360-degree
concourse that will bring its regular-season capacity to approximately 5,000. The
Wildcats boast an 8-1 record at home this season, the only loss coming to Boston
College on Wednesday, March 6 by a score of 12-4 when the Eagles scored 11 runs in
the final two innings to claim victory.