WKU Softball opens its season with a thrilling doubleheader in the Aggie Classic

Lynda Eernisse, Softball Reporter

WKU Softball (2-0) opened its season with a thrilling doubleheader at the Aggie Classic Friday afternoon. The Hilltoppers staved off the UT Arlington Mavericks in game one before hitting a walk-off homerun against the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders in game two. 

“It was great to get two games with two wins on opening day,” WKU head coach Amy Tudor said in a press release. “I am proud of our efforts and composure. [Jordan] Ridge really stepped up with the huge homer in the seventh of game two after we went back even. These were a couple of great team wins today.”

UT Arlington 

WKU’s fifth-year senior pitcher Shelby Nunn threw a complete game, allowing one run in three hits to go along with four strikeouts in game one.

UT Arlington sophomore pitcher Gracie Bumpurs pitched a complete six innings, giving up four hits and three runs while striking out two Hilltoppers. 

WKU junior Taylor Sanders went 1-for-1 from the plate, drawing two walks and hitting the game-winning two-run RBI single. 

UT Arlington senior Meagan Smith batted 1-for-3, batting in the first run of the game. 

The first day of the tournament started out rough when KJ Murphy singled up the middle for the first hit of the ball game. Murphy scored the first run of the game on an RBI single from Smith.

Both programs combined for only one hit by the pitchers for the next three innings as Nunn and Bumpurs dominated the game. 

The Mavericks went three up and three down in the top of the second before senior Jordan Ridge singled for the first Hilltopper hit of the game. In the third inning, both went three up and three down. The fourth inning resembled the third. 

The Hilltoppers found their mojo in the fifth inning. Senior Taylor Davis tied the game with an RBI single, scoring freshman Randi Drinnon. Later in the inning, WKU rallied when Sanders hit a two-run RBI single to take the lead 3-1. 

Nunn finished the game with a three up and three down top of the sixth before flying out the potential tying run at home plate to secure the first victory of the season for the Hilltoppers. 

Texas A&M Corpus Christi

WKU junior Katie Gardener started on the mound in game two. She threw for five innings, allowing two runs on two hits with four strikeouts. Freshman Savannah Frierke came in relief in the sixth inning, allowing three runs on four hits. 

Corpus Christi junior pitcher Beatriz Lara allowed four runs on six hits. Sophomore Megan Depew came in relief in the fifth inning, with two runs on two hits. 

WKU senior Jordan Ridge went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including her walk-off home run, her first of the season. 

Corpus Christi junior Pal Egan went 1-for-4 with two RBIs, hitting her first home run of the season. 

Both teams got off to a sluggish start with no hits in the first inning. The Islanders went three up and three down before the Hilltoppers opened up the game. 

Davis bunted for the first hit of the game before WKU loaded the bases. The Hilltoppers took the lead first with a two-run RBI double from fifth-year senior Bailey Curry. WKU added to its lead off a fielder’s choice to give it a 3-0 lead going into the third inning. 

Corpus Christi punched back in the top of the third with a double by sophomore Gabriella Torres before Egan homered to cut the WKU lead to 3-2. 

Both pitchers stepped up in the fourth inning. Both teams walked away with zero hits and zero runners in scoring position. 

In the top of the fifth inning, Gardner walked to Islander batters, but they failed to score. The Hilltoppers capitalized in the bottom of the frame with an RBI single by junior Brylee Hage. 

Corpus Christi was held scoreless in the top of the sixth before errors haunted them in the bottom of the frame. Davis singled before an error by junior catcher Madison Garza put Davis on second. 

Davis advanced to third base before senior shortstop Tiler Noyola errored, allowing Davis to score and put WKU up 5-2. 

The Islanders rallied in the top of the seventh inning. Back-to-back hits led to a score when sophomore left-fielder Kennedy Foote committed an error. Senior Grace Gilbert tied the game at 5-5 on a two-run RBI double. 

In the bottom of the seventh, WKU’s Ridge hit a walk-off home run on a 3-2 count to win the game for the Hilltoppers 6-5. 

The Aggie Classic will continue through the weekend. Saturday the Hilltoppers will play Texas A&M at 3 p.m. and Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 5:30 p.m.

Softball Reporter Lynda Eernisse can be reached at [email protected]