WLU Baseball splits doubleheader with ABU

West Liberty University Baseball was back in action this week with a game against Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) on Wednesday, April 13, and a doubleheader on Friday, April 15. The Hilltoppers entered the week 6-26 on the season, with each of their victories coming against Mountain East Conference (MEC) opponents.

The Toppers turned to graduate student starting pitcher Sam Aulick on Wednesday against IUP. Aulick got the ball on 10-days rest after a forgettable outing on April 3 versus Charleston in which he gave up seven earned runs in just one inning of work. Unfortunately for Aulick, a bounce back wasn’t in the cards as the second batter of the game for IUP went deep. West Liberty bounced back with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning to take the lead, but IUP scored another in the bottom of the second and two more in the third to wrestle back the lead. By the fifth inning, the Hilltoppers trailed 6-4 until Jarrett Delbrugge’s RBI single and Ty Helmke’s two-run homer put West Liberty back on top at 7-6. This lead held until the bottom of the ninth when IUP’s Colton Burd launched a walk-off three run homer to lift the Hawks over the Hilltoppers at 9-7.

Looking to bounce back after the heartbreaking loss, the Toppers returned to West Liberty for a Friday twinbill against MEC opponent Alderson Broaddus University (ABU). ABU represented a chance for West Liberty to get a couple wins as they entered the day 3-25 on the season. However, Alderson Broaddus starter Ryan Varley refused to roll over, pitching a complete game shutout for his first win of the season, allowing just four hits and striking out 13 to lower his season ERA to 7.68. Justin Pennybacker got the start for West Liberty and matched Varley, pitching a complete game of his own, but a single unearned run in the first inning given up by Pennybacker was the deciding run as the Hilltoppers fell 1-0.

In game two of the day, West Liberty struck early and often, with three runs in the first including a homer by designated hitter Kayne McGee, his second of the season. The Hilltoppers added another run in the second inning and the fourth to make it a 5-0 game. The game got further out of hand for ABU in the fifth inning as West Liberty plated four more with a home run by Bradley Goodyear, a two-RBI single by Ty Helmke, and another when Ryan Talbert was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make the game 9-0 for West Liberty. ABU rallied for three runs in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough as Jackson Phillips and Jacob Bolander closed out the game for a 9-3 final score.

West Liberty baseball will be back in action this weekend in Frostburg, Md. as they take on Frostburg State University in doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, April 23 and 24. For more information about West Liberty baseball, visit hilltoppersports.com.