BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Western Kentucky University senior shortstop Ivan Hartle went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs to lead the Hilltoppers to a 9-3 win in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field.
"I told the guys that was what I wanted to see from day one," WKU coach Matt Myers said. "It just took two games and getting the jitters out. We played loose. We got the jitters out. I was hoping that it would happen come Friday night but I was really proud."
The win for WKU (1-2) is the first for Myers as the head coach of the program. Center fielder Jared Andreoli, designated hitter Scott Wilcox and third baseman Casey Dykes each added multiple hit games while Hartle, Wilcox and first baseman Ryan Huck each drove in multiple runs.
"It was great for the guys to get it," Myers said. "I enjoyed it because of the way we did it. We won that game the way we were supposed to. We played hard. We played defense. We pitched well. We ran the bases well and we executed. That is the microcosm of the team I want to see this whole year."
Hilltopper starting pitcher Ian Tompkins (1-0) limited Toledo (2-1) to two runs on four hits with four walks and a pair of strikeouts in five innings. Right-handers Ross Hammonds and Taylor Haydel combined to shutout the Rockets over the final three innings. Junior Andrew Zimmerman allowed a single run on two hits in the sixth.
WKU got on the board in the first inning on an RBI single by Hartle. Andreoli scored on the play after leading off the frame with a single.
The Hilltoppers added to their lead with a pair of runs in the second on back-to-back RBI singles by Hartle and Wilcox, making the score 3-0.
Toledo cut the WKU lead to 3-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. An RBI single by center fielder Ben Hammer drove in the first run of the inning followed by a sacrifice fly from first baseman Mark Lapikas.
In the bottom of the fifth, an RBI single by Huck pushed the WKU advantage to 4-2. Hartle came home on the play after doubling to start the inning.
The Rockets tallied a single run in the top of the sixth on an RBI double off the bat of catcher A.J. DeMarco to make the score 4-3.
Andreoli added to the Hilltopper lead in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single through the left side. Junior catcher Devin Kelly scored on the play after recording his first career hit as a member of the WKU baseball program.
With two runs in the bottom of the seventh, WKU extended its lead over Toledo to 7-3. Sophomore designated hitter Scott Wilcox led off the frame with his first home run of the season and left fielder Adam Lavelle capped the scoring with an RBI double to left.
WKU pushed the final score to 9-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth. Hartle scored his second run of the game on an error by the center fielder and Huck drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Toledo starter Jared Locke (0-1) allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings of work with three walks and five strikeouts. Cameron Palmer, Trevor Gast and Alec Schmenk combined to allow four runs on six hits over the final three innings.
The Hilltoppers return to action Tuesday with a 2 p.m. matchup against Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., the first of only two road games for WKU in the first four weeks of the season.
"It is an unbelievable challenge anytime you go to an SEC opponent and you are at their place," Myers said. "I'm going back to my alma mater and my former coach in coach (Dave) Serrano. It is a business trip. We'll go down and focus- these guys are ready."