WKU Track and Field takes home seven titles in Louisville

Senior utility player Jordan Mauch (19) runs home to score during the Lady Toppers’ 7-3 win on Saturday, April 1 at the WKU Softball Complex.

Jeremy Chisenhall

WKU Softball has clinched a spot in the Conference USA Tournament, the Lady Tops’ first postseason appearance since 2015 when they won the tournament.

“Being as young as we are and trying to teach what we’re doing with just one player on the team that’s been to the post-season before, it’s come down to the team believing and working hard,” Head Coach Amy Tudor said in a press release. “It’s been fun trying to figure out the pieces to the puzzle. I’m proud of this team and really excited to see what we can do moving forward.”

WKU suffered a sweep at the hands of Florida International over the weekend in the team’s second-to-last series of the year.

The series started with a 3-0 loss in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday. Senior Kat Downing pitched a complete game for WKU, giving up all three runs on one home run from FIU’s Dani Mowry. Aside from that, both teams were shut down offensively, and Downing faced one over the minimum following the home run.

In game two of the doubleheader, WKU lost 4-1. FIU scored three runs in the first inning, as the Panthers’ Stephanie Texeira reached on a fielder’s choice and drove in a run, which was followed up by a double from Kasandra Castle that scored two more.

WKU answered with a run in the third when Jordan Mauch singled to bring home Paige Carter, but FIU held the Tops the rest of the way. FIU would tack on another run in the sixth inning to make it 4-1. Haylee Towers pitched her 12th complete game of the season for WKU, moving to 6-11 this year.

“I felt like both Downing and Towers threw well (Saturday) against a very good FIU team,” Tudor said. “Keeping their speed off the bases was definitely a focus for us this week and I think we executed that plan (Saturday).”

Game three ended in a 4-2 loss for WKU, but featured an uptick in offense compared to the two prior games.

WKU scored both of its runs in the first inning, as Mauch singled to drive in the first run, and then stole second with Brittany Vaughn on third. On the throw down, Vaughn advanced home and gave the Hilltoppers a 2-0 lead.

The Panthers answered back in the bottom of the first, driving in a run on a Texeira sacrifice fly. They’d drive in their last three runs in the second inning, as Ashley Leon and Texeira both recorded RBI singles, and Texeira’s drove in two.

“My plan today was to put some more lefties in the line up to face (Shannon) Saile’s curveball and we were able to do a great job bunting, walking and finding a way on base,” Tudor said. “I was really proud that the team was able to put up two runs early on them.”

Kat Downing pitched the majority of the game, going 5.1 innings. She took the loss, moving her to 14-12 on the year.

“I thought Kat [Downing] threw well all weekend and was able to keep their batters off balance,” Tudor said. “She did a good job and had a lot of fight and composure on the mound, battling the wind.”

Despite the sweep, WKU’s 10-13 conference record has put them fourth in their division, which is enough to get them into the postseason. They’ll wrap up the regular season with a trip to Richmond to play Eastern Kentucky University this weekend.

Reporter Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 859-760-0198 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.