WKU begins C-USA play with series against Marshall

WKU outfielder, Taylor Davis (6) celebrates after making a diving catch during the game against Kentucky on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Bowling Green, Ky.

Jake Moore

WKU Softball will begin Conference USA competition with a four game away series against rival Marshall April 1-3.

The Hilltoppers have the momentum coming off a 2-1 extra-innings victory against the Kentucky Wildcats, who were ranked No. 7 in the country in the USA Today/ NFCA Coaches Poll, on March 24.

The team enjoyed every second of the stunning upset victory, but redshirt sophomore Taylor Davis made it clear after the game that the most important thing for the Hilltoppers is to succeed during conference play.

“In the grand scheme of things, this win is a big deal,” Davis said. “But it’s also not the win we want. At the end of the season we want to win [the] conference… We’re going to enjoy this win, but on Friday we’ll practice again, [and] it’s going to be in the past.”

The Marshall Herd have accumulated a record of 11-4 so far this season. Marshall was picked to finish second in the C-USA East Division in a preseason poll of C-USA coaches.

Senior Aly Harrell was given Preseason Player of the Year honors back in February. Three other Marshall players, senior Sierra Huerta, junior Mya Stevenson and senior Saige Pye were all named to the C-USA Preseason All-Conference Team.

Harrell has impressed so far this year, currently owning a .417 batting average with an on-base percentage of .533 and four home runs to her name.

The Herd have been able to depend on both sophomore Ashley Blessin and senior Laney Jones to cover most of the innings, with the two pitchers owning a 2.55 and 1.36 ERA respectively and combining for 34 strikeouts.

The Herd is batting .313 as a team compared to WKU’s .340 average. Marshall is currently 2-1 against common opponents, defeating Bowling Green State and splitting two games with Valparaiso.

WKU is 3-0 against those squads. WKU head coach Amy Tudor is familiar with the Herd as her squads have gone 7-10 against Marshall during her time at WKU.

The two teams haven’t been able to play each other since a three-game series on April 4-6, 2019, when the Herd took two of three matchups from the Hilltoppers.

The Hilltoppers were initially scheduled to play Lipscomb Tuesday, March 30, before traveling to Huntington, West Virginia, to begin their series with the Herd, but that game was canceled Sunday.

The Hilltoppers will have had plenty of rest by the time they arrive on Marshall’s campus, as they will not have played since their upset of Kentucky.

Softball beat reporter Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.