Lady Tops run-ruled in both contests, eliminated from NCAA tournament

Cartersville, Ga., Lady Topper softball senior pitcher, Janna Scheff, winds up on the pitching mound during the softball double header against Florida Atlantic at the Softball Complex, Saturday, April 4, 2015 . Leanora Benkato/ HERALD

WKU Herald Sports

Entering the Athens Regional Championship contest on Sunday afternoon, the Lady Toppers were one win away from their first Super Regional appearance in the program’s second NCAA trip in three seasons.

T he only team standing between them and a Super Regional birth was a 14 seeded Georgia team (44-15) that WKU (36-14) squeaked a 2-1 win over on Saturday in a tense 14-inning thriller.

Furthermore—because regional play consists of a double-elimination style format—the Lady Toppers not only needed just one win over Georgia to be put through, but to be eliminated they needed to be beat twice on Sunday.

Led by Miranda Kramer in every pitch leading up to Sunday’s contest, the Lady Toppers had earned the right to have the cards stacked in their favor.  The way the cards fell though, was a different story.

On Saturday the Lady Tops were able to hold the 12th ranked team in the nation in scoring (Gerogia) to a lone run through 14 innings and grind out the win. 

Yet less than 24 hours later, in a game WKU could have won and concluded regional play, the Lady Toppers instead gave up eight runs in the first inning alone—six off of Kramer who had thrown 19 strikeouts the evening prior.

Kramer received an open cut to the index finger of her left hand (throwing hand) during extra inning play in Saturday’s contest, which greatly hindered the senior’s ability to find similar success that she has found not only in previous regional games, but also over the course of the entire season. 

After super-glue and Second Skin material proved to be of no avail to the senior southpaw, Kramer would only throw 2 1/3 innings over the course of both games on Sunday, and allowed 15 runs, six hits, 10 walks, and just three strikeouts.

The storm only got worse from there, and after bringing on relief pitchers Hannah Parker and Janna Scheff, the Lady Toppers ultimately could not find any answers and were run-ruled in both contests 12-3 (5) and 17-0 (5), eliminating WKU from the tournament and pushing host-school Georgia thorugh.  

The Bulldogs advance to Super Regional play awaiting the winner of the Ann Arbor region—host school and third seeded Michigan in a best of three series.

“Every part of our game today was not on,” WKU Head Coach Amy Tudor told Zach Greenwell of the Bowling Green Daily News. “It’s not a fun way to go out, but I’m proud of our efforts the entire season.”