WKU Softball breaks program record with 12th consecutive win but falls in the back half of its doubleheader

WKU+infielder%2C+Taylor+Sanders+%2815%29+rounding+third+base+after+hitting+a+homerun+during+a+game+against+UAB+Saturday%2C+March+20%2C+2021.

WKU Athletics

WKU infielder, Taylor Sanders (15) rounding third base after hitting a homerun during a game against UAB Saturday, March 20, 2021.

Lynda Eernisse and Izzy Lanuza, Sports Reporters

WKU Softball (14-2) kicked off its first day of the Ole Miss Classic tournament with a doubleheader Friday in Oxford, Miss. WKU won the first game against Samford to set a new school record of 12 consecutive wins, but dropped the second game to Ole Miss, ending the streak.  

Samford

Junior Katie Gardner started for WKU, pitching six shutout innings while striking out five. Fifth-year senior Shelby Nunn relieved Gardner in the seventh, closing out the game for the Hilltoppers.

Samford sophomore Jordan Walters allowed four runs on 11 hits. 

WKU junior Taylor Sanders went 4-for-4 at the plate, batting in two runs. 

WKU loaded the bases with two walks and a single by junior Taylor Sanders, but a double play ended the top of the first frame. Samford didn’t take advantage of the momentum, leaving a runner stranded on second base.  

In the top of the second, junior Brylee Hage led off with a single before freshman Randi Drinnon hit an RBI single to score Hage. Samford put a runner on base due to an error, but didn’t convert the opportunity into a run. 

Junior TJ Webster led off the top of the third with a double before Sanders batted her in on an RBI single. After a lead off hit by freshman McKayla Cothran, the Bulldogs didn’t match with the Hilltoppers taking a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning.

Both teams were put down in order in the fourth before the Hilltopper bats started to connect again. Sanders hit a two-out single before stealing second.  Senior Jordan Ridge hit an RBI single, sending Sanders to home plate. Gardner allowed a walk, but struck out the side to end the fifth inning of play. 

The Hilltoppers went three up, three down in the top of the sixth, while the Bulldogs struggled to get a run across home plate, leaving a runner stranded on second base.  

Webster singled in the top of the seventh and Sanders followed with a two-out, RBI double to put WKU up 4-0. Nunn came in to close out the game, and she did just that to give WKU a record-breaking 12th win in a row. 

Ole Miss 

WKU’s Nunn started in the circle for game two. She threw a complete six inning performance, allowing two runs on six hits. Junior Brooke Vestal pitched seven full innings for Ole Miss, allowing no runs to go along with six strikeouts.

Rebel junior Paige Smith went 3-for-3 for the tie-breaking home run in the fourth inning. 

The first inning both teams went three up, three down. WKU fifth-year senior Bailey Curry singled in the top of the second for the first hit of the game. Fifth-year senior Maddie Bowlds followed with a two-out double, putting runners in scoring position. A pop up left them stranded. 

Ole Miss put runners on first and second base after Nunn gave up a walk and her first hit of the game to Smith. Freshman Angelina DeLeaon grounded out, advancing Smith and Lanthem to second and third. Both runners were left stranded after a Nunn strikeout. 

In the top of the third, Vestal struck out her first two batters before giving up a walk. She ended the top of the frame with her third strikeout of the inning. Ole Miss moved runners into scoring position, but failed to score to end the third inning. 

WKU went down in order in the top of the fourth. Smith scored the first fun of the game for Ole Miss with a solo homered to left field. DeLeon singled to right field but was stranded after the next two batters grounded out. 

Vestal sat the Hilltoppers down in order at the top of the fifth. Senior Mikayla Allee smashed a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the fifth, giving Ole Miss a 2-0 lead. 

Webster led off the top of the sixth with a single, advancing to second on a ground out. Sanders was hit by a pitch, and Vestal retired the next two batters in the top of the frame. Smith reached with a one-out double, but it didn’t amount to anything as Nunn retired the next two batters to end the sixth. 

WKU had one last chance at the top of the seventh with a two-out single from freshman Randi Drinnon. Vestal struck out Kennedy Foote to end WKU’s 12-game win streak and give Ole Miss a 2-0 win. 

WKU will continue in the Ole Miss Classic on Saturday against Samford at 1p.m. CT and Ole Miss at 6 p.m. CT. 

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

Sports Reporter Izzy Lanuza can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @izzylanuza.