Oxford Regional: Day 3 Recap

Matt Hightower (Courtesy of WKU Media Relations)

Matt Hightower (Courtesy of WKU Media Relations)

Here is the Day 3 Recap of the Oxford Regional.

Western Kentucky 11 Missouri 6

OXFORD, Miss. – Western Kentucky University (41-19) jumped on the Missouri Tigers (35-27) early for the second time in three days to post an 11-6 victory on Sunday afternoon at Oxford-University Stadium and advance to the program’s first NCAA Regional Championship round appearance in 29 years. The third-seeded Hilltoppers won their second game in three tries in the NCAA Oxford Regional, eliminating the Tigers, and will now face top-seeded and eighth-ranked Ole Miss at 5:00 PM.

WKU jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings and never looked back, building as much as an 11-3 cushion before Missouri plated three cosmetic runs in the ninth. In two games, Missouri starting pitching surrendered 13 runs in 2.2 innings of work to Hilltopper hitters.

The Toppers got on the board in the bottom of the first on an RBI single back up the middle by Chad Cregar, scoring Matt Payton from third base. Senior shortstop Terrence Dayleg slapped a two-out, two RBI single through the left side as WKU grabbed a 3-0 advantage after one inning. The senior duo of Cregar and Dayleg combined for 10 RBI, going 7-for-9 and scoring four times. Cregar’s five RBI tied a season-high while Dayleg equaled his career-best with five runs driven in.

Western Kentucky Recap
Missouri Recap

Western Kentucky 10 Ole Miss 9

OXFORD, Miss. – With their season down to its final six outs, third-seeded Western Kentucky University (42-19) scored six in the eighth inning and then one in the ninth to rally from a 9-3 deficit and earn an improbable 10-9 come-from-behind win over eighth-ranked Mississippi (42-18) on Sunday evening at Oxford-University Stadium in the 2009 NCAA Oxford Regional.

In addition to having to play an elimination game against second-seeded Missouri earlier in the day while the defending Southeastern Conference Champions rested, the Hilltoppers rallied in front of 8,377 Rebel fans to knock off the top-seed and force a winner-take-all showdown tomorrow at 7:00 PM. WKU will be playing in its first-ever NCAA Regional Championship Game after equaling the program’s entire NCAA Tournament win total of three in this NCAA Oxford Regional.

“I’ve been doing this for 21 years and that is probably the best ballgame I have been a part of in terms of comebacks, the stage and the atmosphere. I have been saying it all year about these kids. To go out there and play the way they did today for 18 innings and to beat a heck of an Ole Miss ballclub in front of a great crowd with that type of comeback is an amazing feeling,” said WKU head coach Chris Finwood, the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. We had a lot of big hits and they never gave up. We were able to battle back and put up a bunch of runs off an outstanding bullpen. It was a heck of a win for
us and our program.”

Western Kentucky Recap
Ole Miss Recap