LAFAYETTE, La. - Western Kentucky University seniors Jared Andreoli, Casey Dykes and Ryan Hutchison each drove in a pair of runs Friday night to lead the Hilltoppers to a 6-2 in the series opener against Louisiana-Lafayette at M. L. "Tigue" More Field.
WKU hitters went 7-for-16 (.437) with two outs, including scoring five of their six runs with two outs, to improve to 13-17 overall and 5-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. The Ragin' Cajuns (13-16, 3-7) have lost eight games in a row, six straight in league play.
Offensively, Andreoli went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, a pair of singles and a two-run triple. Dykes extended his team-high hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-5 night, including his second home run of the year. Hutchison was 2-for-3 with an RBI triple and a solo home run. First baseman Scott Wilcox also tallied a pair of hits.
Hilltoppers starter Justin Hageman (2-3) limited the Ragin' Cajuns to two runs on three hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts in five innings.
Right-hander Ross Hammonds gave up a hit in three scoreless innings while striking out four. The redshirt senior has not issued a walk in his last nine appearances. Junior Taylor Haydel retired the three batters he faced in the ninth.
Louisiana right-hander Jordan Nicholson (3-3) allowed five runs on seven hits in 6-2/3 innings. The senior struck out six and issued one walk. Reliever Matt Hicks worked the final 2-1/3 innings.
WKU took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. A solo home run by Dykes, his second of the year and an RBI triple by Hutchison accounted for the scoring. Wilcox scored on the triple after reaching on a single with two outs.
Louisiana got a sacrifice fly by third baseman Jordan Borque in the bottom of the second to make the score 2-1.
The Ragin' Cajuns tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by first baseman Chase Compton.
In the top of the fourth, WKU edged in front 3-2 on a solo home run by Hutchison, his fourth of the year.
The Hilltoppers added three runs in the top of the seventh inning to push their advantage to 6-2. A two-run triple by Andreoli sparked the two-out rally and an RBI single by Dykes capped the scoring.
The two teams return to action in the second game of the series at 6 p.m. Saturday. WKU will send junior left-hander Tim Bado (1-3, 6.00 ERA) to the mound against ULL junior left-hander Chris Griffit (3-2, 3.86).