WKU softball takes two close losses against Southern Miss

Freshman infielder Kelsey McGuffin catches a grounder hit by Florida International’s Danny Mowry in the second inning of the first game of a double header against FIU on March 19. JUSTIN GILLILAND/HERALD

Bailey Townsend

The WKU softball team traveled to Hattiesburg, Missouri, to face the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi for a three-game matchup on Saturday and Sunday.

The first game of the tournament began on Saturday afternoon and did not end in the Lady Toppers’ favor; they lost by a score of 2-3 in extra innings.

The game started out strong for the WKU softball team with the Lady Tops jumping to an early 2-0 lead.

The first run of the game came from junior catcher Taylor Proctor, who scored on an RBI by sophomore utility player Jordan Mauch.

Senior infielder Brooke Holloway then contributed the next run by scoring due to a run-down situation on first.

However, a solo home run in the third inning by Southern Miss ended the strong run by the Lady Toppers. The Golden Eagles eventually tied the game in the fifth inning due to a two-out WKU error on third base.

The next few innings proved to be a battle with each team loading the bases, but neither one was able to execute any runs.

This trend eventually came to heartbreaking end for WKU in the bottom of the ninth when MSU’s Samantha Papp scored the winning run on a walk-off single, ending the game with a score of 2-3.

Despite the disappointing ending to the first game, the Lady Toppers proved they were ready to fight when they defeated the Golden Eagles 4-0 in the second game of the day.

The star of this game was none other than sophomore pitcher Hannah Parker, who gave a stellar performance on the mound as she was one hit away from her first career no-hitter.

Parker was not the only Lady Topper who proved she was ready to beat the Golden Eagles. Holloway also stepped up to the plate, providing some big hits to help guarantee the shutout win.

Holloway began the game with a slam by crushing a two-run home run into right field: her sixth home run of the year. Overall, Holloway was 3-4 for the game and had three RBIs.

The next two runs came from an RBI single from Holloway and from Carleigh Chaumont stealing home. These achievements in the third inning brought the score to 4-0, where it remained for the rest of the game.

Freshman utility player Bryce Holmgren also had a great day at the plate, finishing with a 2-2 record for the second game and a 5-5 record for the day.

The last game of the series took place on Sunday, when both teams went into extra innings for the second consecutive day in a row.

In similar fashion to the first game of the series, it ended in heartbreak for the Lady Toppers, who lost to the Golden Eagles with a score of 5-4 in the 10th inning.

RBI singles in the fourth and fifth innings by Holloway and rookie Hannah Mabrey, freshman infielder, helped give the Lady Toppers an early 2-0 lead. This RBI was actually the first of Mabrey’s career at WKU.

By the top of the seventh inning, the score was 4-1. The Lady Toppers were two outs away from celebrating a series victory when a three-run home run from Southern Miss tied the game and sent both teams into extra innings.

They continued to battle until the bottom of the 10th inning, when Southern Mississippi’s Papp hit a walk-off RBI single to clench the victory for the Golden Eagles.

Despite losing the series 2-1 against Southern Miss, WKU displayed many high points throughout the weekend. Holloway and Holmgren had a tremendous performance at the plate, and Parker demonstrated great talent in the circle.

WKU will return to action on Wednesday facing a double header against Murray State. It is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. at Murray.