The Western Kentucky baseball team couldn’t replicate the same success Monday as it saw in its season opener Sunday.
The Hilltoppers closed its opening series against North Dakota State at Nick Denes Field by getting swept by the Bison in a doubleheader 8-5 and 10-2.
WKU opened the series and season with a 10-4 victory and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the first game. Ray Zuberer III scored Jack Wilson on a fly out and Davis Sims recorded an RBI groundout before Matt Phipps hit an RBI double to left.
But the Bison bats came alive in the third for four runs and NDSU never looked back, adding two in the fourth and one in each the fifth and seventh to take an 8-3 lead. Will Busch and Jack Simonsen each went 2 for 4 for NDSU with two RBIs, and Peter Brookshaw also batted in two runs.
Zach Smith earned the win, going three innings and allowing two hits and no runs. Brock Anderson earned the save, allowing no hits and striking out one in an inning.
WKU added two runs in the eighth when Eric Riffe was hit by a pitch, scoring Jackson Swiney, and with an RBI single from Richard Constantine. Swiney and Constantine each posted multi-hit games for the Hilltoppers.
Michael Darrell-Hicks took the loss, allowing six runs on six hits and two walks in 3.1 innings.
NDSU’s bats continued in game two, as the Bison jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and added three runs over the next two innings, plus one in the sixth and two in the seventh, before WKU got its only two runs of the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Brookshaw had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Bison bats, and Bennett Hostetler and Jack Simonsen each posted multi-hit, multi-RBI games. Evan Sankey earned the win for NDSU, allowing five hits and no runs in five innings while striking out eight.
Zuberer drove in WKU’s only runs of the second game with a single through the right side in the seventh. Ryan O’Connell took the loss, going only 1.1 inning and allowing six hits and five runs – four earned – in his WKU debut.
The Hilltoppers are next scheduled to play at Vanderbilt on Wednesday.