March 21, 2014
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU senior pitcher Justin Hageman struck out nine Texas State batters and went the distance for his third career complete game in leading WKU (13-9, 3-1) to its ninth-straight win at Nick Denes Field Friday night, a 4-1 decision over the Bobcats (13-8, 3-1).
Seven of Hageman’s season-high nine strikeouts came between the sixth and ninth innings as he fanned seven of the last 14 batters he faced. Hageman (1-1) scattered four hits and only let two Bobcats enter scoring position while issuing no walks. The Bobcats lone score was unearned for Hageman, as a three-base outfield error set up a ninth inning sac fly for the visitors. Three of Texas State’s hits came in the first four innings while Hageman held them hitless in innings five through seven.
Hageman recorded his third career complete game and his first since going the distance against FAU on May 7, 2011. All three of Hageman’s complete games have come against Sun Belt Conference opponents.
Six of WKU’s eight hits and all four RBI came in two out situations, with senior second baseman Scott Wilcox and sophomore third baseman Thomas Peter both driving in a pair to account for the Hilltopper scoring. Texas State’s Taylor Black (2-3) held WKU to two hits through the first four innings but the Hilltoppers began to figure him out in the middle innings, tallying five hits and four runs in the fifth and sixth.
WKU put two runners on base for the first time in the fifth inning after sophomore outfielder Anderson Miller singled up the middle and Peter was hit by a pitch. Freshman shortstop Leiff Clarkson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Miller and Peter into scoring position to set the stage for Wilcox. Wilcox drove Black’s seventh pitch of the at bat up the middle to put the Hilltoppers in front, 2-0.
The Hilltoppers racked up three more two-out hits in the sixth inning, getting base knocks from junior catcher Ryan Messex and Miller after Black retired the first two in the frame. Peter swung at the second pitch he saw and blasted a two-run double off the left field fence to give Hageman and the WKU defense a 4-0 cushion.
Hageman responded to the offensive output with a perfect seventh and two strikeouts in both the eighth and ninth innings. He finished the night with 111 pitches, 75 of which were strikes. His complete game was the first by a Hilltopper pitcher since Andrew Edwards tossed a complete-game shutout against Louisiana-Lafayette at Nick Denes Field on March 30, 2013.
Messex finished with two hits and a run scored, marking the sixth time in his past eight starts that he has tallied at least a pair of hits. Miller also recorded multiple hits for the second-straight game while also scoring two runs. Wilcox and Peter recorded the 14th and sixth multi-RBI performances of their careers, respectively.
WKU aims for its first 10-game winning streak since 2009 as it returns to the diamond Saturday to face Texas State at 3 p.m. Senior southpaw Austin Clay (3-0, 2.57 ERA) will start on the bump for WKU and duel with Texas State’s Austen Williams (2-0, 2.87 ERA) .
All participants from the WKU Summer Baseball camps will receive free admission Saturday, while friends and family may purchase additional tickets for $3. Sunday is again Fun Day as children ages 12 and under receive free admission and can run the bases following the game. Drink specials will also be offered on the party decks Sunday for $2.
For tickets and more information on WKU Baseball, call 1-800-5 BIGRED, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUBaseball or visit WKUSports.com.
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Baseball, follow the team's social media channels, @WKUBaseball on Twitter and Instagram and WKUBaseball on Snapchat.