WKU gets first series win against a ranked opponent since 2013


Marshall Canupp

WKU Softball’s fifth year utility/catcher Bailey Curry (44) celebrates with her teammates after hitting a three-run home run during their matchup with Bellarmine University on Feb. 18 at the WKU Softball Complex.

Lynda Eernisse, Softball Reporter

WKU Softball (18-4, 2-1 C-USA) closed out its first Conference USA series versus the No. 24 Charlotte 49ers (19-6, C-USA 1-2) with a high scoring 8-7 victory Sunday morning. This was the first series win against a ranked opponent for the Hilltoppers since 2013. 

Earlier in the weekend, the Hilltoppers beat Charlotte Friday afternoon, but lost Saturday morning. 

WKU wasn’t able to put anything up in the top of the first, allowing Charlotte to take the first lead of the day in the bottom of the frame. Senior Bailey Vannoy hit a solo home run that left the score at 1-0 at the end of the first.

The second inning brought more excitement and challenge for both sides. The Hilltoppers were able to bring in a total of six runs. The Hilltoppers loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a bunt before a walk from freshman Abby Newman allowed fifth-year senior Maddie Bowlds to score. 

The second run came from junior TJ Webster who hit an RBI single that sent senior Jordan Ridge home. Senior Taylor Davis then walked and allowed freshman Randi Drinnon to score. The last two runs for the Hilltoppers came off a two-run RBI double from junior Brylee Hage. The score was 5-1 at the end the top of the second inning. 

For the 49ers turn at the plate in the bottom of the second, they tacked on a total of four runs. Two of those runs came from a two-run RBI double that graduate Stacy Payton hit. The last run of the inning came from Vannoy who scored on an error, allowing Payton to score. 

The third inning came and went without any runs scored on either side. The Hilltoppers left the plate with two hits, and two left on base. The 49ers stepped off with one hit and one player left on base. 

The fourth inning had no runs either. The Hilltoppers had zeroes across the board, and the 49ers left with one hit and two players left on base. 

WKU did not put any runs up in the fifth inning; However, Charlotte took back the lead after Payton hit a two-run RBI double to put the 49ers up 7-6 in the bottom of the fifth. 

The Hilltoppers evened up the score at 7-7 in the sixth inning after Hage hit a solo home run, the first of her career as a Hilltopper. 

WKU pulled through for the win in the seventh inning with a run from Sanders, who scored on an error. The final score was an 8-7 Hitllopper win.

Up next, WKU Softball will have a mid-week matchup against Chattanooga on Wednesday. March 16, the first game is set to begin at 12 p.m. CT and the second at 2 p.m. CT. Both games will be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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