Hilltoppers Drop Series Opener to Illinois

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Baseball dropped its series opener to Illinois, 12-7, Friday afternoon at Nick Denes Field.


After the Illini jumped out to a 12-2 lead through five frames, the Hilltoppers battled back to put the score at 12-7, but ultimately weren’t able to find enough offense to complete the comeback.


“We just didn’t get out of the gates very well today,” said head coach John Pawlowski. “We talk about it all the time; it starts with the pitching. Jake [Kates] had an uncharacteristic first inning, we haven’t seen that. We gave them some free bases today, we gave them eight free bases by walk or hit-by-pitch and seven of those were in the first four innings. We were down pretty big, but we put some guys in there that did some good things. You look at it and obviously it’s a negative when you look at the final score, but I try to pull some positive things out of there.”


WKU utilized six pitchers on the mound against the Illini, with the group combining to allow 12 runs (11 earned) while striking out six batters in 9.0 innings of work. Cole Heath and Wade Chandler closed out the final four frames of the game without surrendering a run and allowing just three hits to go along with two strikeouts.


Offensively, the Hilltoppers tallied 11 hits, with two players producing multi-hit performances. Brett Blomquist led the way, going 3-for-4 with two runs, while AJ Fiechter went 2-for-4 to go along with a run and RBI.




The Hilltoppers will close out their series against Illinois with a doubleheader beginning at noon CT on Sunday, March 13 at Nick Denes Field.