Despite multi-homerun games by both Matt Phipps and Jackson Swiney, WKU Baseball dropped a 20-12 decision to Austin Peay on Tuesday night. After the Hilltoppers took a 10-3 lead going into the bottom of the fourth, the Governors ended up scoring 17 of the final 19 runs in the game.
The first baseman Phipps and freshman center fielder Swiney combined to go 6-for-9 with nine runs batted in and seven scored, with each WKU hitter smacking a pair of dingers and a double.
Richard Constantine made his return to the Hilltopper lineup after missing the past 14 games. He started at designated hitter and in the cleanup spot, going 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and two scored, as well as his sixth homerun and fourth double of the season.
Things got started with a bang in the top of the first, as a Constantine sacrifice fly and Phipps three-run dinger to straightaway left field gave WKU a 4-0 lead. It was the Plantation, Fla., native’s second homerun of the season and first since Feb. 17 against NKU in the team’s third game of 2019; a span of 46 games in-between.
Austin Peay responded with a solo homerun off the bat of Garrett Kueber in the bottom of the first to make it a 4-1 game, then both teams went scoreless in the second.
Constantine and Swiney started the third frame with back-to-back doubles, then Phipps followed with a two-run homerun to left-center field to put the Hilltoppers ahead 7-1. It gave the junior a career-high five runs batted in and was the junior’s second homerun of the night; with only one pitch in-between long balls this time.
The Governors would go on to score at least two runs in each of the final six frames of action, starting with a pair of tallies in the bottom of the third against WKU starter Eric Crawford to cut the lead to 7-3. The righty would end up being the visitors’ most effective pitcher of the night, going 2.1 frames while allowing three runs on four hits with zero walks and two strikeouts.
Constantine and Swiney began the fourth frame with back-to-back solo homeruns, giving the Hilltoppers their first back-to-back jacks since Kevin Lambert and Wyatt Featherston on this same field on April 25, 2017, in WKU’s infamous 22-17 victory over Austin Peay.
With a chance to match Jake Sanford as Hilltoppers who have hit three homeruns in a single game in 2019, Phipps knocked a line drive that hit one foot from the top of the right-field fence and ended up at second base with his 12th double of the year. He would end up scoring on a sacrifice fly by catcher Collin Hopkins as WKU went ahead by a score of 10-3.
The Governors exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth to get right back in the game, now trailing only 10-9. Swiney gave the Hilltoppers a 12-9 cushion right back, with a two-out, two-run homerun on an 0-2 count to right field for his second long ball of the night. It was the St. Louis, Mo., native’s second multi-dinger game of the year, matching his output on April 16 at Belmont.
Those would be the final baserunner for WKU, however, as the Austin Peay pitching staff retired the final 13 batters of the game while the offense put up 11 runs over the next four frames en route to an eight-run win.
- It will be a quick turnaround for the Hilltoppers, who host Old Dominion for the final Conference USA series of the season beginning on May 16. First pitch times for the Thursday-to-Saturday set at Nick Denes Field will be 5 p.m, 5 p.m and 1 p.m., respectively.
- Friday will be Senior Night — with ceremonies for the five WKU elders beginning at 4:30 p.m. — as well as Hill’s Pet Nutrition Bark in the Park. On Saturday, the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a free 100th Season logo red t-shirt.
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WKU Hilltopper Athletics