*From Troy Media Relations*
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky scored a run in the fifth and sixth innings to rally past Troy 5-4 Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field and even the three-game Sun Belt Conference series at a game each.
Ali Knowles gave Troy a 4-3 lead in the third with a two-out single to left after back-to-back two-out base hits by Matthew Howard and Garrett Pitts.
Trevor Lowe led off the WKU (19-16, 9-5 Sun Belt) half of the fifth with a triple just off the glove of Danny Collins in right field and Steve Hodgins followed with a single up the middle to knot the game at 4-all.
A leadoff walk to Devin Kelly in the sixth proved to be the difference after he went first to third on a sac bunt and scored on a single by Jordan Cessna.
Collins reached in both the seventh and ninth innings, but was not be able to come around and score the tying run. The junior slugger put the Trojans (24-10, 8-6) on the board with a three-run homer in the first, it was Collins’ eighth home run of the season as was the start of a 3-for-5 day.
The Hilltoppers matched the Trojans’ three-run first with one of their own. Ryan Huck put WKU on the board with a single to left after the first two batters of the inning reached on seeing-eye singles. Following a pair of outs, Blake Crabtree tied the game with a two-run single to center field.
WKU stretched starter Andrew Edwards to the limit as the junior threw 132 pitches over eight innings of work. Edwards (4-1) allowed all four runs, three earned, on eight hits; he walked three – all in the first inning – and struck out six. Austin Clay recorded the final out of the game for his second save of the year.
Nate Hill (1-2) took the hard-luck loss for Troy despite pitching the Trojans out of a sticky situation in the fifth. The southpaw inherited runners on first and third with just one out. Hill got a groundout and a fly out around an intentional walk to Huck to end the threat.
Ryan Sorce gave the Trojans 3.1 quality innings out of the bullpen. He scatter four hits, allowed one run and struck out three after entering the game in the second inning.
The teams will play the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.