Lady Tops claim third C-USA series

Caught in a pickle, senior infielder Olivia Watkins changes directions to avoid being tagged by Louisiana-Lafayette sophomore third basemen Samantha Walsh on Saturday. The Cajuns bested WKU 8-4, and proceeded to sweep the weekend’s matches against the Lady Toppers, who had until then been undefeated in conference play. (Ian Maule/HERALD)

Hunter Frint

WKU (20-7, 7-2) and Florida Atlantic (26-12-1, 7-5) got their three-game series off to a delayed start this weekend, due to weather conditions. The Lady Toppers split Saturday’s action before claiming the series with a win on Sunday.  

WKU took the first game in a 3-1 win, while Florida Atlantic pulled ahead in the second game winning 6-1.

The tie breaking game of the series ended on Easter Sunday with a score of 1-0. 

This three-game series was the home opener for the Lady Toppers, who have now had 14 game cancellations and multiple rescheduled games.

“It was awesome,” senior pitcher Miranda Kramer said of her first home game as a Lady Topper. “I mean I’ve never played a home game on this field besides, obviously, in the fall, so it was really exciting. We had a lot of fans. It was great.”

WKU pitched a total 20 strikeouts during the double-header with Kramer claiming 13 of them in all seven innings of the first game. The starting pitcher for the second game was Janna Scheff (ERA 3.39) followed by freshmen Hannah Parker and Kelsey Jernigan. 

“I was really happy with the fan turnout. I wish we had had a little bit more excitement between the lines,” Head Coach Amy Tudor said after splitting the first day. “Overall, I felt like we did a decent job. I don’t know if we had home jitters or what, but I felt like we were a little flat.”


Game One (WKU 3-1FAU)


Dani Pugh, Shawna Sadler, Carleigh Chaumont and Brooke Holloway all notched hits in the second inning. After Holloway hit a single and stole second, Sadler’s double brought Holloway all the way home to score the first run for WKU.

In the third, Larissa Franklin came up to bat and nailed the ball out of the park over right field. 

In the fifth, with Franklin already on first, Preslie Cruce hit the ball putting herself on first, moving Franklin to third with two outs on the board. Lady Owl’s pitcher Samantha Messer walked Lexie Norfleet to first base. 

During the 6th inning Florida Atlantic scored their one and only run due to Emily Lochten’s hit that brought in batter Christina Martinez. Martinez was the only Lady Owl that was not struck out by Kramer.

“Obviously their hitters have done really well,” Kramer said. “I think we did very well in the first game and [our hitters] had timely hitting. It was perfect.”


Game Two (FAU 6-1WKU)


WKU started the second game in the field with two back to back outs at first base. Scheff got the start for the Lady Toppers as they dropped game two 6-1. 

“We’re glad that we won game one at least. We wanted to win game two and win the series,” Pugh said after game two. “We’re going to plan, change our mindset a little bit and come out and beat them tomorrow.”

Scheff allowed two walks for Emily Lochten and Melissa Martinez. With two outs on the board and two runners on base, Coach Amy Tudor called a timeout to give Scheff a pep talk.

At the bottom of the second Pugh was given a walk by Florida Atlantic Pitcher Kylee Hanson (ERA 1.99). Sadler hits the ball, putting Pugh on second.

One error was made by WKU in the fourth inning and Florida Atlantic scored their first run of the game with zero outs against them.

A double by Florida Atlantic’s Carnesha Thompson brought home two players for a score of 3-0.

Parker entered the circle during the sixth inning and struck out the first batter. A second out was notched on first base.

Florida Atlantic scored two more runs due to a double by Lochten who later made it home for a score of 6-0.

The pitcher for the Lady Owls ducked quickly as Cruce drove the ball straight over center field for a single.

The seventh and last inning consisted of a run scored for WKU. 

Pugh (.280 avg) hit the ball over the fence to score the only run scored for WKU. 


Game Three (WKU 1-0 FAU)


Freshman Lexie Norfleet scored the only run of the contest to win the series for the Lady Toppers.

Norfleet’s first career home run sailed over the left field fence at the bottom of the fifth inning to notch the win.

Other hits by WKU include one each for Cruce, Franklin, Holloway and Kayti Hanson.

Kramer beat Saturday’s streak with 15 strikeouts in Sunday’s game. The Iowa native allowed one walk and three hits consisting of one single and two doubles for Florida Atlantic. 

28 strikeouts on the weekend brings the senior’s total to precisely 1,000 strikeouts for her collegiate career. 

This Conference USA series is the third for WKU— they have claimed all of them. 

The Lady Toppers will have another home double-header this Tuesday against Murray State beginning at 4 p.m. The game will be a red out.