Western Kentucky battled back from a five-run deficit to earn an 11-6 win over Austin Peay on Tuesday night at Raymond C. Hand Park in Clarksville, Tenn.
The Hilltoppers (17-30) were in a 5-0 hole through six innings of action, recording only one hit to that point, before erupting for eight runs in the top of the seventh en route to the eventual 11-6 victory.
“What a tremendous inning in the seventh,” WKU coach John Pawlowski said in a news release. “Put up eight runs on the board. I’m just happy for our team, they’ve been working hard. They put together a great inning there.”
Luke Sinnard earned the starting nod on the mound for WKU, allowing three hits and two runs while recording three strikeouts in three innings of work. The Hilltoppers utilized Cole Heath, Aaron Shiflet, Jake Kates and Logan Bowen in relief, with the group combining to surrender eight hits and four runs while striking out three batters in six innings.
At the plate, the Hilltoppers racked up 11 hits and 11 walks, with three players producing multi-hit performances. Justin Carlin led the way, going 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs, while Jackson Gray went 2-for-2 with four RBIs and Ty Batusich was 2-for-4 with two runs.
Austin Peay (18-31) opened the scoring in the first frame, using a solo shot to make it 1-0.
The Governors then used another solo shot in the third to go up 2-0.
Austin Peay extended its lead in the fourth frame, using a two-run homer to put the score at 4-0, before adding another run in the fifth to take a 5-0 advantage.
The Hilltopper offense broke the game open in the seventh, erupting for eight runs in the frame to storm ahead. The inning opened with a solo shot by Gray, followed by RBI singles from Batusich and Carlin to make it 5-3.
A bases-loaded walk by Aidan Gilroy closed the gap to one, with Gray then stepping to the plate for the second time in the inning and ripping a bases-clearing three-RBI triple down the right-field line. Gray later capped off the frame by scoring on a wild pitch to put WKU up 8-5.
Austin Peay added a run of its own in the bottom of the seventh, using an RBI single to make it 8-6.
WKU tacked on three more runs in the eighth, with a two-run homer by Carlin and RBI single by Brett Blomquist giving the squad an 11-6 lead and the eventual victory.
Kates earned the win after tossing 2 2/3 innings of one-run relief.
The Hilltoppers will head to Ruston, La., for a three-game series against Louisiana Tech beginning at 6 p.m. CT Friday.