BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Baseball will face its first of three regional Power Five midweek opponents Tuesday, March 14 when the team travels to Nashville to take on No. 24 Vanderbilt. First pitch at Hawkins Field is slated for 4:30 p.m. with the Hilltoppers’ starter TBA; the game will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus.
The following two Tuesday’s, WKU will play Kentucky on March 21 at Bowling Green Ballpark and No. 4 Louisville a week later on the road. But the challenge begins March 14 on the Commodores’ home turf, where the Hilltoppers have won two of their past five contests.
WKU’s most recent victory at Vanderbilt came Feb. 24, 2014, in a 3-2 result, and a few current players – Hunter Wood, Thomas Peter, Leiff Clarkson and Jackson Sowell – played in the game. The lineups featured future MLB draft pick Anderson Miller, as well as Dansby Swanson and Walker Buehler in the other dugout.
Wood started at designated hitter and went 2-for-3 with a double and one run batted in, while Peter started at third base and went 1-for-3 at the plate. Clarkson appeared as a pinch runner for starting catcher Ryan Messex and Sowell completed 0.2 innings in relief of starter Josh Bartley, as the Hilltoppers defeated the No. 4 team in the nation for the highest-ranked win in program history.
All seniors in 2017, those four are still making impacts on The Hill three years later.
Wood leads WKU with 20 hits in 57 at-bats and boasts a team-best .351/.439/.596 slash line in 14 starts behind the plate. Sowell bounced back from a loss at Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday to post a pair of scoreless frames vs. Illinois State in Game 2 of the Sunday doubleheader. Clarkson has made five starts at third base, while Peter has started all 17 contests – split between designated hitter and right field – and knocked five extra-base hits.
Vanderbilt has started the season 11-6, moving up one spot in the www.D1Baseball.com rankings from the No. 25 spot. The Commodores are led by first baseman Julian Infante, who is 23-for-64 at the plate and slashing .359/.461/.500. The sophomore has five extra-base hits, 13 runs batted in and 14 runs scored, starting all 17 games to begin the year.
This will be the final tune-up for the Hilltoppers before Conference USA play begins with a three-game home series against UAB from March 17-19 at Nick Denes Field.
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