Cardinals take down Hilltoppers with early offense

WKU freshman Kennedy Sullivan throws a pitch during WKU’s 9-7 win against Indiana State at the Softball Complex on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.

Sophie Austin

The WKU softball team’s 11-game winning streak was snapped by the Louisville Cardinals in a Wednesday night matchup that ended with a final score of 7-2. The loss makes the Hilltoppers 26-6 on the season.

All runs but one were scored in the first two innings of the game, with Louisville scoring three in each while WKU scored one in each. The final run of the game was a home run off the bat of  Louisville pitcher Danielle Watson.

Junior Kelsey Aikey suffered the loss in the circle, which makes her 8-4 on the season. She pitched 0.1 frames before being replaced by freshman Kennedy Sullivan, who came into a bases-loaded, one-out game to strike out the first two batters she faced and put the Hilltoppers in the dugout.

Aikey allowed one hit and three runs, threw one strikeout and walked three batters. Sullivan allowed four runs off of five hits, threw seven strikeouts and walked six batters.

“Walks always come back to bite you in the butt and they bit us,” head coach Amy Tudor said. “We left a couple pitches and they took advantage of that. Getting in a hole is not fun, but I thought we responded well in both those innings.”

Sophomore Shelby Nunn would come in to finish it out for the Hilltoppers, pitching the last inning. Nunn allowed one hit and no runs to hold the Cardinals at seven.

WKU’s two runs were scored by seniors Rebekah Engelhardt and Jordan Vorbrink. Sophomore Maddie Bowlds also had an RBI.

“These next few days will be a grind. There’s things that we need to work on to get back on track,” Tudor said. “I think our mindset needs to change just a little bit. Going through the motions is never good, and we will get prepared for Marshall in these next few days.”

The team will be preparing to take on Conference USA opponent Marshall this weekend when they travel to West Virginia.

“We can’t get complacent with any team,” Vorbrink said of moving into the weekend series. “We got to treat everyone the same no matter what ranking they are, if they’re in state, conference or not, just approaching every game the same instead of making something too big.”

The Hilltoppers, who are currently 9-0 in conference play, will be looking to earn their fourth-straight C-USA sweep to keep them undefeated on the season. The series will begin with a doubleheader on Saturday, with the first game scheduled to begin at noon.

Softball reporter Sophie Austin can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected].