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WKU baseball opening weekend full of fireworks; Tops win 2 of 3 weekend games for 13th time

WKU vs. Kent State, Friday, February 19, Bowling Green, Kentucky Nick Denes Field

After WKU senior Matt Ridings set a new school record for career strikeouts, hopes were high the Hilltoppers would open the season at home with a victory against Kent State.

After the teams scored a total of 23 runs on 26 hits, the Hilltoppers came out on the short end 13-10. Ridings is the nation's current active leader in wins and strikeouts.

With 264 career strikeouts, he faced down Kent State's first batter of the game, Jimmy Rider, and after three pitches entered the record books. He went on to end the game with 271 career strikeouts.

WKU vs Kent State, Saturday, February 20, Bowling Green, Kentucky Nick Denes Field

This time it was Western Kentucky University's time to score 13 runs against Kent State and two Hilltoppers held the Trojans scoreless.

Tanner Perkins and Taylor Haydel, freshmen enjoying their first start for the Hilltoppers, provided a four hit afternoon to Kent State  Perkins worked six innings and struck out six. Haydel took over the mound and pitched three hitless innings to finish the game, allowing just one baserunner and fanning three. Neither allowed a walk.

WKU vs. Kent State, Sunday, February 21, Bowling Green, Kentucky Nick Denes Field

Western Kentucky University ended the opening weekend of baseball with a 5-3 victory over the Kent State Trojans. Bart Carter earned the win with 3 1/3 innings in relief. This marks the 13 series played on the weekend that the Hilltoppers have come out on top.

Eight Tops had hits, with Kes Carter going 2 for 4 with three RBIs. He is on a 14 game hitting streak.  Ryan Huck and Jared Andreoli each added a pair of hits as well, and Matt Payton picked up his 150th career hit with a first-inning bunt single.