Baseball: WKU 6-3 over Rice

Western Kentucky second baseman Nick Brunson (left) turns a double play as Rice shortstop Trei Cruz is out at second Friday, May 3, 2019, during Western Kentucky’s 6-3 win Nick Denes Field. (Bac Totrong/

Western Kentucky baseball coach John Pawlowski has announced that former Hilltopper baseball players Conner Boyd and Nick Brunson will serve on the 2020 coaching staff.

“We are very fortunate to have two former Hilltoppers working on our staff this year,” Pawlowski said in a news release. “They had a tremendous impact as players here on The Hill, and now have a chance to help develop, train and lead this group.”

Boyd, who spent last season as a student assistant coach after playing for the Hilltoppers in 2017 and 2018, will step into a volunteer assistant coach role. In this role, he will work with the pitcher’s training and development program and will serve as the bullpen coordinator during games.

Brunson, who played for WKU the past two seasons, will join the staff as a student assistant coach. He will serve as the first base coach during games and will help assist with all position players along with strength and conditioning programs throughout the year.

Boyd served as a relief pitcher for the Hilltoppers after transferring in from Motlow State Community College. The Smyrna, Tenn., native led the team in appearances during both of his seasons at WKU while seeing action in 52 games during his two years with the squad. He closed out his career with a 4.13 ERA, recording one win while striking out 49 batters in 56.2 innings of work.

Brunson was utilized primarily as a second and third baseman for the Hilltoppers, coming to WKU via Kaskaskia College in 2018. The Champaign, Ill., native made 59 starts during his two seasons with the Hilltoppers while playing in 87 total games. He finished his career with 46 hits, 34 runs, 26 walks, 15 RBIs, 10 doubles and two home runs while adding 140 assists and 67 putouts in the field.

“As players, and now as coaches, Boyd and Brunson both exemplify what WKU is all about,” Pawlowski said. “They did it the right way and are great role models for this team to follow. The energy and passion they bring has been a consistent driving force this fall and will certainly help the Tops as we chase championships and NCAA Regionals.”

The Hilltoppers are set to open their 2020 season at home Feb. 14, where they will host Valparaiso for a three-game series at Nick Denes Field.{&end}

– Follow WKU athletics beat writer Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit


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