WKU Softball to travel to UTEP after Kentucky game is cancelled

Junior utility player Jordan Mauch (19) runs home to score during the Lady Toppers’ 7-3 win on Saturday April 1, 2017 at the WKU Softball Complex.

Herald Sports

After having its Wednesday night showdown with bluegrass opponent, the University of Kentucky, cancelled Wednesday night due to weather, the WKU softball team will travel to Texas for a weekend series against C-USA foe Texas El Paso.

This will be the first time since 2011, and only the second time since the WKU program was started in 2000, that UK and WKU will not meet during the spring season. Up next, the Lady Tops will have a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a series finale on Sunday.

Wednesday’s cancellation will leave the Hilltoppers with a full week between games. The last time WKU was in action, they came up short against UAB in last Sunday’s contest against the Blazers.

WKU comes into El Paso to face a struggling UTEP team. Despite their 10-26 record, the Lady Miners are coming off an 11-3 victory over Incarnate Word on Monday.

The Lady Toppers (20-20 overall, 4-8 C-USA) are looking to get back above .500 after alternating wins and losses over their past four outings. An 8-game losing streak from early to the middle of March put WKU toward the bottom of the Conference USA standings.

While the Lady Toppers’ bats have been inconsistent this season, their leader has been solid.

Senior pitcher Kathryn Downing threw a two-hitter last week in a 1-0 shutout of in-state opponent Murray State, dropping the upstart Racers to 10 losses on the season. Downing is 11-7 on the season with a 2.09 earned run average and 75 of the team’s 176 strikeouts.

Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, Downing struggled in the weekend series against UAB, losing both of her starts. Downing gave up three earned runs and nine hits in two starts against UAB.

“We didn’t have enough run support in game one, but the team responded well from the start in game two and put together some key at bats that produced several runs,” head coach Amy Tudor said last weekend.

Downing and WKU fell 1-0 in nine innings to open the slate in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader before taking a 7-3 win in the second contest to tie the series at 1-1. In Sunday’s rubber match, WKU fell short, 3-2, losing its second-straight league series.

“We’re disappointed not to win the series, but I’m proud of our pitchers’ performances, as well as the bottom of our lineup for producing hits this weekend,” WKU head coach Amy Tudor said after the loss on Sunday. “We kept ourselves in every game this weekend and had several opportunities to put runs across the plate in each of the games.”

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