Sophomore LHP Ryan Wilkinson (1-0) was credited with the win, working 1.0 inning of relief. Wilkinson is coming off a tremendous freshman campaign that saw him appear in a team-high 25 games last spring, sporting a 4-1 record with a 2.20 ERA.
Senior RHP Matt Kuna then worked a perfect bottom of the ninth frame to preserve the season-opening triumph and was credited with his fifth career save. Kuna sat out the 2011 season with an arm injury.
With the score tied, senior DH Matt Delewski (1-for-4, RS) started the ninth-inning rally with a one-out single. Following a walk, sophomore C James Miglin (1-for-3, RS) collected a single to load the bases. WKU reliever Ross Hammonds recorded a strikeout for the second out, before junior OF Tyler Grogg (1-for-4) delivered the eventual game-winning hit with an infield hit. Senior OF Jeff Cola (1-for-5, 2 RBI) then tallied a two-run single to right field for some insurance runs.
The Hilltoppers' Hammonds (0-1) was saddled with the loss, yielding two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings of relief.
The Midnight Blue & Gold jumped on the scoreboard early with single runs in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead. In the first frame, senior OF Ben Hammer (1-for-4, RBI) drove in a run with a RBI single. Freshman SS Dan Zuchowski (1-for-3, 2 RS, RBI) then led off the second inning with a solo home run in his collegiate debut.
Western Kentucky (0-1) cut Toledo's lead to half in the third inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jared Andreoli.
WKU then knotted the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning on a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single by Justin Hageman, setting the stage for UT's late-inning heroics.
Junior RHP Mike Hamann drew the start in the season opener for a second-consecutive season and limited the Hilltoppers to one run on five hits with three strikeouts over 7.0 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander, who missed his final six starts last spring with an arm injury, sat the side down in order on three occasions this afternoon.
WKU starter LHP Tanner Perkins was equally as effective in a no decision, allowing two runs on four hits with three punchouts in 7.0 frames.
The teams will resume their three-game weekend series tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. UT will send senior RHP Alex Radon to the mound against WKU's LHP Austin Clay.
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