BOWLING GREEN, KY - Toledo (2-1) split a pair of games in a doubleheader at Western Kentucky (1-2) on Saturday at Nick Denes Field. The Rockets won the first contest, 7-6, before the Hilltoppers rebounded to claim the series finale, 9-3.
Senior INF Joe Corfman (4-for-10, 3 RS) paced UT with multi-hit efforts in both non-league games this afternoon.
In Game One, junior RHP Cody Umbright (1-0) was credited with the victory in relief. Umbright worked 1.0 perfect inning to help the Midnight Blue & Gold win the first two games of the season for the second time in the last three seasons.
Eight Rockets had at least two hits against four WKU hurlers in the one-run triumph, including senior INF Mark Lapikas (3-for-5, RS, 2 RBI) with a team-high three hits.
UT jumped on the scoreboard first for the second consecutive game with three runs in its initial at-bat. Junior OF Ben Hammer (2-for-3, 3 RS, RBI), sophomore C James Miglin (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Lapikas were credited with RBI's in the first inning.
After Western Kentucky plated single runs in the third and fourth frames to make the score 3-2, the Rockets exploded for three runs in the seventh. Senior DH Matt Delewski (2-for-4, RBI), freshman INF Anthony Smith (2-for-5, RBI) and Lapikas came through in the clutch with run-scoring tallies to increase the Rockets' lead to 6-2.
WKU was quick to counter, though, with run-scoring hits off the bats of Ryan Hutchison and Ryan Huck in the seventh and eighth innings to set the margin at 6-4.
The Rockets then looked to have the game in hand after Miglin drove in a run with a run-scoring single in the top of the ninth, but WKU countered with a pair of runs in its final at-bat to make the situation very interesting. The Hilltoppers put the game-tying run at third base with two outs, but senior RHP Matt Kuna recorded a punchout to preserve the one-run victory.
WKU's Austin Clay (0-1) was strapped with the loss, surrendering three runs on 11 hits with one strikeout in 6.0 innings.
In Game Two, UT junior RHP Jared Locke (0-1) was tagged with the loss. Locke allowed four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in 5.0 frames.
The home team scored runs in six of their eight at-bats to avoid the season-opening weekend sweep.
WKU wasted little time is roughing up Locke and the Rockets with three tallies over the first two innings and never looked back. Ivan Hartle and Scott Wilcox were responsible for back-to-back RBI singles in the second frame to give the home team a lead they would not surrender.
Toledo responded with a pair of runs in the fifth on the strength of a RBI single by Hammer and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Lapikas.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, they were unable to hold their momentum as Western Kentucky plated a run in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by Huck to push its advantage to 4-2.
The Rockets mustered a single run in the sixth on a RBI double off the bat of senior C A.J. DeMarco, but the Hilltoppers countered with five unanswered runs to the final difference 9-3. The big hit was a home run by Wilcox.
WKU starter Ian Tompkins (1-0) limited Toledo to two runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts in 5.0 innings to earn his team's first win.
The Rockets will return to action next weekend, Friday-Sunday, Feb.24-26 when they venture to Charlotte, NC for a three-game series with the 49ers. Charlotte picked up 43 wins in 2011 and captured the Atlantic 10 Tournament title, advancing to the NCAA Championships for the fifth time in school history.
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