WKU falls in morning, set for elimination rematch against ULM

May 23, 2009 by

By ROB HERBST
The Daily News
rherbst@bgdailynews.com/783-3238
TROY, Ala. — Western Kentucky failed in its first opportunity to reach the Sun Belt Conference championship game today, when the Hilltoppers saw a late two-run lead turn into an 11-3 blowout loss this morning at rainy Riddle-Pace Field.

The second-seeded Hilltoppers (39-17) will now face No. 7 ULM (31-26) later today at a time to be determined, with the winner moving into Sunday’s championship. The loser will be eliminated.

Weather pending, No. 1 Middle Tennessee and No. 5 Louisiana-Lafayette were scheduled to play at approximately 2 p.m. today in the other semifinal game. 

WKU and ULM will follow after that, although rain could wreak havoc on the rest of the day.

Rain washed out the Hilltoppers’ scheduled Friday night game and their 9 a.m. scheduled start with ULM was delayed an hour because of more rain. The teams also sat through a 15-minute delay after the second inning, then played much of the contest in a light shower.

Eventually, ULM reigned over WKU.

The Hilltoppers took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but ULM tied the game in that inning on a solo home run from Perry Smith and RBI single from Ben Soignier, before blowing it open with an eight-run, eighth-inning.

ULM hit WKU relief pitcher J.B. Paxson hard after he entered in the 3-3 game.

Paxson suffered the loss, giving up six runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batsman in only 2/3 of an inning. ULM sent 12 batters to the plate. 

The Warhawks took their first lead of the game on Jordy Porch’s double, then broke it open with Matt Collins’ two-run single and Ryan McMillan’s three-run homer.

The ugly finished ruined what was a solid start from WKU pitcher Shane Cameron, despite some control issues. He gave up three runs on three hits and eight walks in 6 2/3 innings.

WKU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on Terrence Dayleg’s triple that scored Matt Rice. 
Rice later gave WKU a 3-1 lead in the seventh on an RBI single that scored Matt Hightower, but the Hilltoppers managed only seven hits and left 12 runners on base.

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Hot Rods to introduce mascot tonight

April 24, 2009 by

A week ago today, the Bowling Green Hot Rods opened up their new Bowling Green Ballpark. Tonight, before the finale of an eight-game homestand, the Hot Rods will introduce their mascot.

I just received word that a special introduction ceremony will be held at 6:40 p.m. (first pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.). So fans eager to be the first to get a peek at the mascot are encouraged to arrive a few minutes early.

It’s under way

April 17, 2009 by

It’s just after 4 p.m. – three hours to first pitch – and there’s already some activity downtown. There’s music blaring from the WKCT 930 AM parking lot on College Street, and a handful of folks are wandering around. If you’re coming tonight, you are strongly advised to have a plan and a backup plan for parking.

We’ll check in throughout the rest of the day. And remember to follow Daily News reporters Micheal Compton and Nick Baumgardner on Twitter tonight. They’ll be issuing updates about the game and about the scene from about 4 p.m. through the final out.

Hot Rods roster change

April 17, 2009 by

T-minus 4 1/2 hours to first pitch, and the Bowling Green Hot Rods have announced their first roster change of the young season. It’s the first of what figures to be many of these as the long season wears on.

Right-handed pitcher Joseph Cruz has been placed on the inactive list, according to the team, while outfielder Justin Reynolds has been activated.

Cruz, of Monterey Park, Calif., appeared in one game for Bowling Green this season, starting on April 13 at West Virginia. Cruz threw 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits while striking out six and walking one. He finished with a no-decision in Bowling Green’s 7-4 victory.

Reynolds, 22, is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound outfielder from Independence, Ore. He batted .271 last season with Hudson Valley (N.Y.) in Short-Season A ball, hitting two home runs and driving in 25 runs.

We’ll check in throughout the rest of the day. And remember to follow Daily News reporters Micheal Compton and Nick Baumgardner on Twitter tonight. They’ll be issuing updates about the game and about the scene from about 4 p.m. through the final out.

It’s game day

April 17, 2009 by

As of 10:45 a.m., it’s somewhat hard to imagine there’s going to be a baseball game over at the Bowling Green Ballpark in about eight hours, much less that gates will open at 5 p.m. to season-ticket holders (5:30 p.m. to the general public).

The ballpark very much remains a construction site, with equipment and hard-hatted workers and temporary fencing scattered all around. I don’t know how much of that will be cleared out or tucked away by the time fans arrive – there’s plenty of work left to do in parts of the complex, so fans probably shouldn’t expect a pristine vista as they walk in tonight.

That said, the exterior disarray doesn’t match the interior. I can tell you the inside of the park is perfectly suitable for a game. In fact, when I drove by the park about 9:30 p.m. last night, there was an almost mystical pinkish glow rising from the bowl – the huge scoreboard and the outfield video boards were lit, throwing light of all colors across the field. 

It’ll be a neat atmosphere tonight, especially since it’ll be the only time it’ll feel this way. There may very well be big crowds the rest of the summer, but they probably won’t match tonight’s. And the anticipation makes the evening feel really significant. There’s a lot of media attention – I believe local radio and perhaps television will be broadcasting from the stadium at various times today – and there’s still a sense that the public is trying to wrap its collective head around this whole endeavor. Tonight, it should all become clear.

We’ll check in throughout the rest of the day. And remember to follow Daily News reporters Micheal Compton and Nick Baumgardner on Twitter tonight. They’ll be issuing updates about the game and about the scene from about 4 p.m. through the final out.

Welcome back

April 16, 2009 by

Well, we’re back. After months of allowing the Daily News’ sports blog to lanquish unattended, the staff is resurrecting this site – hopefully with increased energy and commitment.

A couple primary reasons for the rebirth:

1) We will be blogging all day Friday about the goings-on at the new Bowling Green Ballpark, where the Bowling Green Hot Rods will open their inaugural home schedule at 7:05 p.m. The Daily News building is within throwing distance of the park, and therefore smack in the middle of all the action, especially as the expected sellout crowd tries to figure out where to park the thousands of cars that will be flooding the downtown area. We’ll try to keep you updated on the preparations at the park and about the parking outlook, particularly in the late afternoon as fans start to arrive. Once the game begins, reporters Micheal Compton and Nick Baumgardner will Twitter about the scene from the press box, all the way through the final out. (For future reference, both Micheal and Nick will use their Twitter accounts to offer updates on other local sports topics, so start following them now).

2) Followers of Western Kentucky men’s basketball know the past few days have been wild, with news about incoming recruits occurring daily – or even hourly, in the case of New Jersey-based forward David Laury (who eventually signed with WKU on Wednesday after saying he would choose Morehead State instead). Instead of posting constant “Breaking News” updates on the Daily News’ Web page, we’ll start to provide recruiting updates here.

WKU 82, Tulane 67 – Final

December 6, 2008 by

It’s a wrap from Fogelman Arena. The Tops were on fire from the field, hitting 12-of-17 3-pointers and 56.9 percent overall from the field.

Now WKU, on a four-game winning streak, gets a full week before visiting Evansville next Saturday.

Check out Sunday’s Daily News for complete coverage from Tulane.

WKU 73, Tulane 57 – 3:59 left in second half

December 6, 2008 by

Far be it for me to jinx anyone, but this game looks over. The Hilltoppers have continued to maintain a lead with blistering shooting. WKU is 12-of-17 from 3-point range and hitting just under 60 percent overall. A big change from previous games.

WKU 64, Tulane 52 – 7:48 left in second half

December 6, 2008 by

Same story from Fogelman Arena. WKU continues to main around a 10-point lead, withstanding any Tulane comeback attempt thus far. But there’s still almost eight minutes remaining and Tulane is still jacking up 3’s, so a comeback is possible.

WKU 59, Tulane 49 – 11:28 left in second half

December 6, 2008 by

The lead dropped to nine twice, but WKU still hitting enough shots – so far. Tulane is 9-of-14 this half though so WKU needs to step it up defensively.