Kramer builds on program, conference records

West Burlington, Iowa senior Miranda Kramer winds up on the pitching mound during the softball double header against Florida Atlantic, Saturday, April 4. Leanora Benkato/ HERALD

Hunter Frint

Senior WKU Pitcher Miranda Kramer has set and tied two Conference USA records in one week. The honors didn’t stop there either, as Kramer pulled in the top national weekly award for her position, being named ESPNW’s National Player of the Week. 

Kramer set the new C-USA strikeout record and tied the record for most pitcher of the week honors in the league in her first and only season on the Hill.

This past week, WKU softball (29-10, 14-4) played a three game series against Charlotte. Kramer totaled 18 strikeouts pitched during an extended 11 innings in the third leg. WKU would lose the game, despite clenching the series the day prior in a double header with scores of 1-0 and 3-1.

“I was really confident into the game after the two days I had before it,” Kramer said of the record setting third game of the series. “As the game progressed, I kind of knew that I could hold them off and that one run should be enough… I gave up that home run in the seventh, and I kind of got down on myself.

“In those situations you have to count on your offense to pull you through. Luck just wasn’t on our side that day.” 

After the weekend series, Kramer is now top two in the nation in five categories. The pitcher is second in the NCAA with 11 shutouts and a .80 ERA.

The Iowa native also threw 18 strikeouts earlier last Wednesday in a single non-conference game against No. 17 Kentucky. With her pitching streaks, Kramer broke the previous C-USA record of 17 strikeouts. 

This last week’s conference record was one short of Kramer’s career high—19 strikeouts earlier this season in seven innings against Troy.

With 346 strikeouts this season, Kramer is ranked seventh in the Conference USA single-season records. 

“It’s a great personal accomplishment for (Kramer). Her dominance on the mound just gives us the best chance to win,” Head Coach Amy Tudor said. “We were all very proud of her, and we want to just keep on rolling.” 

Kramer pitched all four games this week and finished with a total of 59 strikeouts and nine hits, with just one hit earned. The opponent batting average against Kramer was a .083 in 33.2 innings of pitching.

This honor tied Kramer with ECU’s Toni Paisley, who was awarded seven times in 2009 and 2010, and with Courtney Blades of Southern Miss, who set the record in 2000 for the most C-USA weekly awards (seven) in a season.

Kramer’s second no-hitter performance against Charlotte this past weekend was the ninth no-hitter in WKU history. Under Head Coach Amy Tudor, it was the fourth in her two years of her WKU career. This no-hitter places Kramer as the first pitcher at Western to record two no-hitters in a career, let alone a season.

The team travels to Murfreesboro this weekend to play Middle Tennessee in their last three game series. A doubleheader will take place Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.

“This weekend is big for us because if we sweep we secure first place in the conference and UAB is also just one of two games behind us. This series is super important especially going into the Conference-USA tournament,” said Kramer.

The last regular season game before the conference tournament will complete the three game series on Sunday at noon. The Conference USA Tournament will take place in Miami beginning on May 7.

“It’s our series to take. MTSU and Western always put on a fun game. MTSU does a good job of hitting the ball and it’s their last three games at home,” Tudor said. “They are going to come out fighting, but we have more at stake. We have veteran leaders on the field, and we are looking to go in there and win that series because we know what it means to us.”