Nationally-ranked opponents await WKU softball in Florida

Senior outfielder Shawna Sadler slides into third base to avoid a double play during their 3-2 loss to South Alabama last season. (Ian Maule/HERALD)

Jonah Phillips

After a successful weekend in Troy, Alabama that saw senior pitcher Miranda Kramer throwing the program’s eighth no-hitter in history, the WKU softball team will now travel to Tallahassee, Florida. for the Unconquered Invitational, where they will open up competition against nationally ranked Michigan (No. 8) and host school Florida State (No. 6). 

The Lady Toppers were able to close the Alabama State game with a score of 9-0 in the final win of the weekend.

With 19 strikeouts, a no hitter, 12 hits against Troy and 15 hits against Alabama State, the Lady Toppers have set the tone early for the upcoming season 

“There was a lot of nerves with it being our first day out there,” Kramer said. “We have a lot of underclassmen, and eight seniors so we’re just trying to understand each other and trust our instincts.” 

Kramer, a senior transfer from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in her first year as a Hilltopper has already brought in national attention. 

On Tuesday, Kramer was announced as the Louisville Slugger NFCA National Pitcher of the Week, as well as ESPNW National Player of the Week. She also earned Conference USA Co-Pitcher of the Week on Monday for her performance at the Unconquered Invitational. 

Kramer totaled 38 strikeouts with just four hits and three walks in 18 innings of play over the weekend.  Her 19 strikeouts against Troy set the school record for individual team strikeouts in a game, while ranking most in C-USA history. 

Fellow seniors Larissa Franklin and Shawna Sadler also had successful weekends. Franklin went three for four with two runs scored and Sadler had two hits. 

Senior Preslie Cruce put up her first home run of the season and fellow senior Dani Pugh had two grand slams and a home run as well. 

The team is hoping to build off of last week’s performance with focuses on base running, pitching and defense. 

 “Our focus has to be there because our competition is the cream of the crop,” Head Coach Amy Tudor said of this weekend’s tournament. “Those teams are very good and I’m expecting it to be a fast game.”

WKU Softball will conclude Saturday, Feb. 14 against No. 19 Nebraska at 11:30 a.m. CT and Georgia Tech at 1 p.m. CT.