Baseball Returns to The Nick, Faces Austin Peay


Joshua Lindsey – Bowling Green Daily News

The WKU baseball squad, fresh off a good showing against the number one team in the nation, returns home to Nick Denes Field to square off against border-state foe Austin Peay.

The Tops have hit a rough patch in their season, having lost 9 of their last 13 games, dating back to the sweep of Illinois in Bowling Green. Having said that, they did take two out of three to open conference play against Georgia State, as well as play a close series against the Cajuns this past weekend (yes, the Sun Belt is home to the #1 baseball team in the nation), having won the first game 14-3, and lost by a single run in game two, and by three in the rubber match. The win in the series gave WKU a distinct honor – they’re the only team in the nation to have defeated two top-5 teams on the road this season. BOOM, baby!

The Nick, however, has been friendly to the Tops. In 2014, WKU is 9-4 in home games, and 9-3 at Nick Denes Field (the other loss, of course, came to Louisville last week at Bowling Green Ballpark).

Scheduled to start tonight for Matt Myers and company is the right handed freshman Sam Higgswho is 3-2 on the year with a 6.98 ERA in 19.1 innings of work in his maiden college year. Higgs recorded wins against UNC Ashville, Pittsburgh and Illinois, as well as started the game against Georgia in which the Bulldogs hit WKU pitching for 26 runs (Higgs was on the hook for 5 of those in just one-third of an inning pitched). Higgs got some work in this past weekend against Lafayette, in which he threw 3 innings and allowed 3 hits and a run. While that near-7 ERA is scary, it was under 3 before the UGA game. So, there is that…

The Governors will send out righty Caleb DeLee (1-1, 9.69 ERA) to the bump to oppose Higgs. DeLee has thrown less innings than Higgs, 13 even to be exact, and is a regular member of a bullpen that has eight guys with an ERA over 5. As a team, the Govs boast a 5.95 ERA, and if the Tops continue to swing the bat like they did against ULL, it’ll be a fun day at the Nick.

The Hilltoppers are hoping their hot hitting made the trip back to Kentucky with them. Seven guys hit over .400, and combined for 11 extra base hits (9 doubles, a triple and a home run). Leading the charge is catcher Ryan Messex, who is one of three Tops now hitting over .300 (.377, along with Anderson Miller and Regan Flaherty).

It’s been a while since we’ve kept tabs on the guys here (regrettably – real life sucks sometimes), but even with this down stretch (the baseball Toppers went 8-11 in March), the entire starting 9 is hitting over .250. If the high Govs ERA is reflective, the Tops are going to have a field day.

Austin Peay is lead by Alex Robles (.369, 1 HR, 13 RBI) as the only plus-.300 hitter among the every day Governor hitters. The Govs boast a team batting average of .254, and allow opponents to hit for .298, right around WKU’s team average of .283.

Baseball is a game of matchups, and the Tops match up well with Austin Peay (much like we saw WKU matchup against Vandy, and we all know how that turned out).