Category Archives: Baseball

Rice, Davis will return to WKU baseball team

By Jonathan Lintner

Just a note I passed over once the MLB signing deadline passed, but pitcher Rye Davis (now a junior) and catcher Matt Rice (a senior) will return to play for Western after not signing contracts this past summer.

Davis was selected by the Cleveland Indians with the fifth pick of the 36th round, and Rice was taken by the New York Yankees as the last pick in the 50th round — also the last pick of the draft.

This was confirmed by Michael Schroeder, Western’s baseball SID last season.

Mike Mosby, a junior college recruit of Western’s, was selected in the 14th round of the draft by the Baltimore Orioles and signed with that organization. Justin Hageman, a Hopkinsville High School product, heard his name called by the Kansas City Royals in the 32nd round but did not sign and will play at Western this season.

Former Topper second baseman Matt Payton signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, pitcher Matt Ridings with the Royals and pitcher Bart Carter with the Minnesota Twins.

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BASEBALL: Tops fall to UALR, lose first home series in two years

Home wasn’t so sweet for Western this weekend, and right now nowhere is.

The Toppers (32-18, 13-11 Sun Belt Conference) fell 4-2 to Arkansas-Little Rock Sunday afternoon, losing their first home series since March 21-23, 2008, against Troy.

“I’m sure our guys feel as bad about it as I do,” Head Coach Chris Finwood said. “I didn’t think the effort wasn’t there today. We just have to figure out how to get some good pitches to swing at and do something with them when we get them.”

Western’s offense totaled only seven hits for the game, getting its only two runs of the game in the first and ninth innings. The Tops threatened in the sixth inning, but freshman right fielder Blake Crabtree grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

“We aren’t swinging the bats well enough to win,” Finwood said. “We didn’t give ourself enough chances.”

Rice led the Toppers with three hits and an RBI single. Freshman Ryan Huck had the other RBI with a home run.

Junior Brian Edelen struggled with his command for his second straight start. Seven runners got on base against him as he threw 60 total pitches in just 2.2 innings.

Rice said the pitching was well enough to win, but the offense did not support them.

“I think giving up four runs on a Sunday is good enough to win, but we have to score more runs,” Rice said.

The Trojans came into the weekend in second to last in the Sun Belt at 5-14, but in knocking off Western on Saturday and Sunday, the Trojans earned their first league series win of the year.

Western has now lost 11 of its last 17 games

“You have to try and make it go your way,” Rice said. “But right now it isn’t really working for us.”

Mike Stunson

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BASEBALL: Tops fall in extras again, this time to UALR

It’s no secret that the Toppers have suffered through extra-inning woes this season. How to solve those struggles, however, remains unknown.

After the Tops scored two runs in the ninth inning to tie the game, sophomore closer Rye Davis gave up two runs in the 11th inning as Western went on to lose 8-6 to Arkansas-Little Rock.

The loss marks the Tops’ fourth straight defeat in extra innings.

“We had our chances to win,” senior second baseman Matt Payton said. “They just ended up being the team getting the hits to win.”

Western began the game by scoring three runs in the first two innings but then struggled to get any more off Trojans’ starter Golden Daniel. Daniel left the mound after pitching 7.1 innings, giving up only those three earned runs after coming into the game with an ERA of 7.01

“He’s an average college pitcher who we made look a lot better than he was,” Head Coach Chris Finwood said.

After Daniel exited the game, sophomore catcher Matt Rice and sophomore third baseman Casey Dykes drove runs home to tie the game at six. Rice was stranded at second to end the ninth inning.

The Trojans offense was consistent throughout, scoring in seven of the 11 innings. Senior Shane Cameron lasted four innings as he gave up four earned runs. Davis was put into the game in the 10th, and after retiring that side in order, he ran into trouble in the 11th, giving up three hits and two walks in the inning to earn the loss.

“We didn’t do enough to win,” Finwood said. “We aren’t playing like a team that wants to win the Sun Belt championship.”

Payton led the Toppers’ attack with three hits and two runs while Rice had two RBI.

Western won its first two extra-inning games of the year but have dropped their last four — all which have been since April 16.

The Tops bring junior Brian Edelen to the mound at 1 p.m. Sunday in the final game of the series.

Mike Stunson

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BASEBALL: Three-run ninth inning gives Western a win over UALR

The Topper offense bailed out senior pitcher Matt Ridings in what was close to being a disappointing loss.

Junior catcher Matt Rice drove home two runs with a double in the ninth and sophomore third baseman Casey Dykes brought in Rice with a sacrifice fly to give Western (32-16, 13-9 Sun Belt Conference) a 5-4 walk-off victory over Arkansas-Little Rock Friday night at Denes Field.

“We put our one good inning of the game together there in the ninth and were able to fight there and win it,” Head Coach Chris Finwood said.

Ridings did not allow a hit until the sixth inning and struck out 10 on the night, but the game caught up to him in the eighth inning when the first three Trojan batters reached base. Two of them scored before senior pitcher Bart Carter was put into the game. Carter then gave up a two-run home run, putting Ridings in line for the loss after the eighth.

“It’s a shame he didn’t get the win tonight because he was outstanding,” Rice said. “He had all three pitches working in the zone and was staying behind even when we were making errors.”

But Rice and Dykes had the big hits in the ninth to make sure Ridings did not get the loss for the game.

“We had to do everything we could to get that win,” Dykes said. “Going into the ninth we knew we had to get it done.”

Senior second baseman Matt Payton and sophomore left fielder Jared Andreoli had the other RBIs for Western, which had trouble bringing runners home until the last inning. The Toppers combined to tally 12 hits but stranded 10 runners for the game, including ending two innings with the bases loaded.

“We let them hang around, and I had a bad feeling about it,” Finwood said. “Ridings was pitching great, but we just weren’t taking advantage of it.”

Rice said this game was a must-win for the Toppers.

“Every win from this point out in the Sun Belt Conference is a valuable one,” Rice said.  “Finwood has told us, ‘every game here on out is the most important one,’ so thats the attitude we have to take into it.”

The Toppers look to win the series when they face the Trojans again at 3 p.m. Saturday with senior Shane Cameron taking the mound.

Mike Stunson

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WKU celebrates 100 years of athletics Saturday

Saturday’s Western vs. Arkansas-Little Rock baseball game will be more than a pivotal Sun Belt Conference contest for the Toppers.

Western will celebrate its 100th year of athletics, which also coincides with the formal dedication of the Paul Orberson Clubhouse.

The first 100 fans at Denes Field Saturday will receive a commemorative bat. The Clubhouse is open from 11 a.m. until noon, when the clubhouse will be dedicated. The game begins at 3 p.m.

Western’s first game on record was a May 2, 1910 baseball win over what is now known as Eastern Kentucky University. In that game, the Topper pitcher threw a no hitter.

Jonathan Lintner

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BASEBALL: Tops fall to Troy in extra innings

The extra-inning woes continued for Western Saturday afternoon in Troy.

The Toppers (31-15, 12-8 Sun Belt Conference) came back from 3-0 and 4-2 deficits, but it was the Trojans who scored last, as they won 5-4 in 10 innings. Western has now lost three straight games in extra innings — all by a single run.

Senior Shane Cameron pitched a season-high eight innings and struck out six but earned a no decision.

Western recorded only six hits for the day with sophomore shortstop Logan Robbins and sophomore third baseman Casey Dykes each hitting two. Robbins also hit his sixth home run of the year in the seventh inning to tie the game at four runs apiece.

The game stayed tied at four going into the 10th inning when freshman Taylor Haydel put a runner on second, and two batters later fellow freshman Tanner Perkins gave up the decisive run on a single.

Western shoots for a series win for the second day in a row with junior Brian Edelen taking the mound on Sunday.

Mike Stunson

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BASEBALL: Ridings good again in WKU’s win over Troy

The Toppers had lost their last five Sun Belt Conference road games heading into Friday night’s contest with Troy, but senior pitcher Matt Ridings and junior catcher Matt Rice made sure that trend didn’t continue.

Rice tallied his sixth three-hit game of the year and Ridings threw six innings with six strikeouts as Western (31-14, 12-7 Sun Belt) defeated Troy, 7-4.

The Toppers scored five of their runs in the third inning, improving to 21-2 when they score at least four runs in an inning.

Rice hit his tenth home run of the year, and junior Monte Ketchum hit his second pitch-hit home run in his last three games in the ninth inning. Rice ended the day as the only Topper with multiple hits — also adding two runs and two RBI.

Ridings scored his sixth win of the year with sophomore Rye Davis pitching 1.1 innings in his eighth save of the year.

Senior Shane Cameron will take the mound on Saturday as Western shoots for a series victory over Troy at 3 p.m. The game will be televised on the Sun Belt Network and on WKYU in Bowling Green.

Mike Stunson

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