WKU Softball wins both doubleheader games for second day in a row in the WKU Hilltopper Classic

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WKU Athletics

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers outfielder Brylee Hage (11) Green Bay vs WKU February 23, 2020 at WKU Softball Complex

Lynda Eernisse, Softball Reporter

Day two of the WKU Hilltopper Classic Tournament took place Saturday afternoon. WKU Softball (7-1) won both games against Southeastern Missouri and Bellarmine with its first game of the day against SEMO going to extra innings.  

SEMO

WKU junior Katie Gardner started in the circle for the first game of the day. She tossed 3.1 innings, allowing three runs on three hits. Fifth-year senior Shelby Nunn came in relief in the fourth inning, allowing no runs in 4.2 innings of work. 

SEMO junior Marisa Davis pitched seven innings allowing three runs on eight hits with strikeouts. Freshman Deleaney Kell pitched 0.1 inning allowing two hits and giving up the walk-off run in the bottom of the eighth.   

The Hilltoppers’ fifth-year senior Bailey Curry went 2-for-3 with a two-run RBI single in the bottom of the third inning. Redhawk junior Alyson Tucker went 3-for-4, batting two runs with a solo homerun in the top of the third inning.

The first inning flew by as both WKU and SEMO didn’t get on the board and both teams went three up and three down. The Hilltoppers pulled ahead early in the bottom of the second after SEMO went down in order again when senior Jordan Ridge put up an impressive solo home run, putting WKU up 1-0 early in the game.

The Redhawks stormed back with a solo homerun of their own from Tucker in the top of the third inning, tying the game at one point each. WKU loaded the bases after a single and two walks before Curry launched a two-run RBI single, putting her squad back up 3-1. 

The Redhawks roared back in the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run by freshman Aubrie Shore. Senior Kaylee Anderson reached on a single before advancing to second base on a fielder’s choice. Tucker batted her in with an RBI single, bringing the score back even at 3-3.  

Both teams struggled to take advantage for the next couple of innings. The Redhawks went three up and three down while the Hilltoppers left a runner stranded on first base. The sixth inning saw both programs load the bases but didn’t take the lead.  

Sophomore Abigail Rickerman singled to open the top of the seventh before advancing to third base on a throwing error. She was left stranded after Nunn forced a ground out. Curry walked with one out but her pinch runner Kasia Parks was left stranded on first to bring the game into extra innings. 

SEMO went three up and three down to start extras. WKU got runners on first and second with a walk and hit by pitch before a fielder’s choice put a runner on third. Junior Taylor Sanders won the game on an RBI single, giving WKU a 4-3 win. 

BELLARMINE 

After run-ruling the Knights on Friday night, the Hilltoppers faced them again, although they put up more of a fight this time. 

WKU started redshirt freshman Kelsie Houchens for the first time this season. She pitched three innings, giving one run while striking out three Knight batters. Freshman Savannah Fierke came in relief in the fourth inning, allowing no runs and no hits for four innings. 

Bellarmine sophomore Carson Goatley gave up eight runs on nine hits in 3.2 innings of work. Graduate sophomore Megan Murphy relieved Goatley in the fourth inning, tossing 2.1 innings while giving up no runs. 

WKU freshman Randi Drinnon went 1-for-2 at the plate, drawing two walks with her lone hit being a solo home run. Bailey Curry continued her impressive play going 2-for-3 while adding three more RBIs. Bellarmine senior Hannah Webb went 1-for-3 at the plate, knocking in two runs. 

The Knights started the day going down in order. The Hilltoppers put two runners on base before Curry continued her hot day with an RBI double to put the WKU 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning.  

After Bellarmine struggled to get a runner past first base, sophomore Kennedy Foote hit a two-out double. She scored in the next at bat with junior TJ Webster’s RBI single.

The Knights finally had some movement on offense in the top of the third with a walk and a single by freshman Kayla Bauer. A fielder’s choice forced an out at third but left runners at first and second base before Webb doubled, scoring both runners and tying the game 2-2. The Hilltoppers didn’t answer back, leaving a runner stranded on first base. 

The momentum didn’t carry over for the Knights going down in order. A Drinnon homerun put WKU back up 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth. The Hilltoppers began to rally, loading the bases with one out before a Sanders sacrifice fly extended their lead.

Ridge singled, scoring another run for WKU. Ridge stole second base, putting runners on second and third before Curry hit a two-run RBI double. Curry eventually got around base to score on a sacrifice bunt by junior Brylee Hage, giving the Hilltoppers an 8-2 lead going into the fight inning. 

After the offensive explosions, both didn’t score for the rest of the game. Houchens forced four consecutive three up and three down innings for Bellarmine. WKU put two runners in scoring position, but failed to convert in the bottom of the fifth inning. 

Both teams didn’t record a hit in the sixth inning, with the Hilltoppers leaving one runner on base in the bottom of the frame. Houchens closed out the game, striking out the last two Knight batters and giving WKU an 8-2 win. 

Up next, WKU will play at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, wrapping up the WKU Hilltopper Classic. The Hilltoppers’ opponent has yet to be determined.

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