WKU Baseball 2019
Courtesy Steve Roberts, WKU Athletics

WKU Baseball junior outfielder Jake Sanford was named a 2019 Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist on Thursday afternoon, then went 2-for-4 with his 22nd homerun and 19th double of the season in the evening. He improved his slash line to .412/.496/.859 in 51 games, with 65 runs batted in, 61 runs scored and 171 total bases.
The Hilltoppers lost by a score of 15-1 to visiting Old Dominion, however, and fell to 24-26-1 overall and 15-12-1 in Conference USA play. The Monarchs out-hit WKU 23-to-4 on the day; shortstop Kevin Lambert went 2-for-2 with a walk, producing his 16th multi-hit game of the year and 32nd in his career on The Hill.
Starters Reece Calvert and Tommy Gertner went toe-to-toe for the first four innings, with Sanford’s solo homerun with one out in the bottom of the fourth being the difference as the Hilltoppers took a 1-0 lead into the fifth frame. But after allowing three singles through the first four innings, Calvert gave up six straight one-base hits to start the fifth and Old Dominion took a 5-1 lead. From then on out, the Monarchs added 14 more hits and 10 more runs over the final four innings against Calvert and a trio of WKU relievers.
Up NextWKU and Old Dominion will play Game 2 of the series at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 17. The Hilltoppers will have their Senior Night celebration at 4:30 p.m., when the team and fans will recognize five WKU elders (Calvert, Nick Brunson, Joe Filosa, Jacob Green and Troy Newell). Also on Friday night, it will be Hill’s Pet Nutrition Bark in the Park on Friday night, with each canine receiving a free WKU red dog bandana. Finally, the Hilltopper Athletic Foundation will host its Appreciation Night, with free admission, food and drinks for all members who RSVP to haf@wku.edu or call 270-745-5321.
NCBWA Names 2019 Dick Howser Trophy SemifinalistsSanford joined an exclusive group on Thursday afternoon along with 25 other Division I baseball players, who are up for the annual national award for the outstanding collegiate baseball player. Sanford is 1-of-5 outfielders to make the list and the lone player from C-USA. He becomes the first WKU player to earn the honor since Ryan Bicondoa in 2002, when the righty went 11-2 with five complete games in 16 starts. Bicondoa finished his senior season with a 2.56 earned run average and 150 strikeouts with only 106 hits allowed in 123 innings pitched.
The Dick Howser Trophy, is given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager, who died of brain cancer in 1987. It is regarded by many as college baseball’s most prestigious award, as the baseball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) votes for the recipient based on nominees’ performance, character, leadership and courage – all features to be emulated in memory of the late Dick Howser.
With Thursday’s long ball, Sanford moved into sole possession of fifth place on WKU’s single-season homerun charts and became only the fifth hitter in Division I to reach the 22-dinger plateau in 2019. It marked the 12th-consecutive weekend series in which the junior has hit at least one homerun.
With 104 total bases in 28 C-USA games, Sanford has set a new league record, passing Ryan Jones of East Carolina, who had 103 in 2004. With his 14th homerun in C-USA action, Sanford has tied a league record with six other players, most recently Matt Wallner of Southern Miss in 2017.
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Baseball, follow the program via social media @WKUBaseball on Snapchat, TwitterInstagram & Facebook.
Bryan Fyalkowski
Assistant Director of Media Relations
WKU Hilltopper Athletics


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