Post Game: Tops 3 – #4 Vandy 2


Courtesy of WKU Athletics on Facebook

What. A. Game.

The Hilltoppers, already hot from not only a three game winning streak, but a 13-2 win on Sunday as well, went down I-65 to Vanderbilt to take on the 4th (or 8th…depending on the poll) ranked Vanderbilt Commodores. And it was a night to remember.

WKU (6-2) scored single runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings, as well as a single tally in the 5th, and allowed the pitching staff to do the rest, and held off a 6th inning threat, in which Vanderbilt (7-1) was able to get two runs across, as well as jams in the 7th and 8th, before the door was slammed shut in the 9th to seal a historic Hilltopper victory.

Freaking Josh Bartley. The sophomore pitcher who attended high school in Bowling Green (at South Warren H.S.) collected the third win of his collegiate career, and went 6 innings, giving up only three hits, two runs, one free pass and struck out four on 94 pitches. Oh, those three wins – all against top-25 opponents; #8 Louisville and #24 Kentucky last year, and Vandy tonight. Pretty. Damn. Impressive.

The bullpen kept things interesting in the back innings, as Jackson Sowell and Brandon Allen walked six batters in 1.2 innings to give the Dores a chance on the basepaths, only to be denied at a tying or go-ahead run. Ian Tompkins slammed the door shut with a four-out save, his fourth save of the season.

The Tops took advantage of Vandy’s starter, Walker Buehler – roughing him up for three runs on nine hits in 6 innings of work. Phillip Diedrick, Hunter Wood, Trevor Lowe and Scott Wilcox all had multi-hit games, and for Wilcox, it was the 50th in his Hilltopper career. Wilcox also finished the night with 2 RBI, including the one that would win the game, and Wood owns the other run batted in.

While the Toppers’ pen allowed six walks, that was all the base runners Vandy would get once Bartley left the game.

No matter how you look at it, WKU won this game. No doubt about it. Sure Vandy may have had an off night. Yes, Vandy couldn’t get their bats going. But make no mistake about it. On this night in late February of 2014, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers were better on the mound and in the batters box than the fourth best team in the nation.

Stand up and cheers. Stand up tall, and cheer loud and proud.