Friday: (Toledo 5, WKU 2)
The Rockets started off the game early with an RBI single by center fielder Ben Hammer, driving in an unearned run. Coming quickly in the second inning was a solo homer by shortstop Dan Zuchowski to up the score to 2-0, Toledo.
In the bottom of the third, WKU cut Toledo’s lead to 2-1 with a sac fly from center fielder Jared Andreoli, allowing second baseman Ivan Hartle to score after his triple earlier in the inning.
WKU managed to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth after a pinch-hit RBI double by Justin Hageman, allowing Hartle to score.
Toledo came into the top of the ninth to score three runs. Left fielder Tyler Grogg drove in the go-ahead run, followed by a two run single by right fielder Jeff Cola.
Taylor Perkins, starting pitcher for Western allowed two runs (one earned) in the first two innings but held Toledo to only two hits over the next five innings. WKU relievers Ross Hammonds and Taylor Haydel gave up the runs. Senior Matt Kuna picked up the save for Toledo.
Saturday, 2 p.m.: (Toledo 7, WKU 6)
Despite a good ninth-inning rally, the Hilltoppers couldn’t come up with a win for their first game in a doubleheader Saturday.
Toledo took another early lead with back-to-back RBI singles by Hammer and Mark Lapikas, followed by an RBI groundout by catcher James Miglin in the first inning.
WKU added a run to the board in the fourth with catcher Ryan Huck scoring on an RBI by right fielder Ryan Hutchison. In the fourth, Western added another run on back-to-back doubles by Andreoli and Hartle.
Toledo padded their lead in the seventh inning with three runs batted in by Lapikas, DH Matt Delewski and third baseman Anthony Smith, bringing it to 6-3. In the seventh, WKU scored a run on an RBI double by Hutchison, driving Huck in after leading off the inning with a single.
The Rockets scored in the ninth on an RBI single by Miglin, and the Hilltoppers scored twice on RBI singles from third baseman Casey Dykes and Andreoli, but were unable to tie it up.
Western starter Austin Clay allowed three runs, one strikeout and one walk on 11 hits in six innings. Starting pitcher for the Rockets, Alex Radon kept WKU to two runs on five hits, with six walks and two strikeouts in four innings. Toledo’s Cody Umbright picked up the win with a scoreless inning and Kuna earned his second save of the year. Tate Glassock, Colton Satterlee and Brennan Pearson all saw action out of the bullpen for WKU.
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.: (WKU 9, Toledo 3)
Western Kentucky got their first one of the season, taking the series finale from Toledo.
The Hilltoppers started off the game with an RBI single by Hartle, allowing Andreoli to score after leading off with a single.
In the second inning, WKU added to their lead with back-to-back RBI singles by Hartle and Wilcox.
Toledo cut the WKU’s lead to 3-2 with an RBI single by Hammer and a sac fly by Lapikas. In the bottom of the fifth, WKU went to 4-2 after an RBI by Huck, allowing Hartle to score.
Toledo added a run in the sixth on an RBI double by A.J. DeMarco, making the score 4-3. Andreoli had an RBI single in the sixth that scored catcher Devin Kelly, who scored his first career hit for WKU.
In the seventh inning, Western extended the lead to 7-3 after a solo homer by Wilcox to lead off the inning. Left fielder Adam Lavelle had an RBI double for the inning. WKU finished the scoring with a run scored by Hartle on an error, and Huck drove in a run on a sac fly.
Toledo starter Jared Locke allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings, and had three walks and five strikeouts. Cameron Palmer, Trevor Gast and Alec Schmenk allowed the remaining four runs over the last three innings. The Hilltopper’s starting pitcher, Ian Tompkins went five innings, with two runs on four hits and four walks, with two strikeouts. Hammonds and Haydel combined to shutout Toledo for the last three innings. Junior RHP Andrew Zimmerman allowed one run in the sixth.
“Western Kentucky is a very good team,” said Toledo head coach Cory Mee. “We’re very happy we were able to come down here and win two out of three. You know, you’re always disappointed after a loss; it’s not often you’re in the position we were in, to have a chance to win all three, and you would like to take advantage of that if you can, but they played really well in Game 3, and they earned it.”
Tonight marked Matt Myers’ first win as head coach for Western Kentucky. “I enjoyed it because of the way we did it. We played that game the way we were supposed to, we played hard, we played defense, we pitched well, we ran the bases. We were executing. We had a lot of energy in this dugout the whole time, and that’s the microcosm of the team I want to see this whole year.
Western Kentucky heads to Knoxville this Tuesday to play Tennessee at 2 p.m. Toledo’s next series will be at Charlotte, February 24-26.