WKU forces rubber match with late surge against FAU

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Marshall Canupp

WKU Softball junior outfielder Brylee Hage (11) makes contact during WKU’s matchup with the Arkansas Razorbacks on March 21, 2022 at the WKU Softball Complex.

Lynda Eernisse, Softball Reporter

WKU softball made a heroic comeback in its matchup against Florida Atlantic Saturday afternoon, winning 4-2 in Boca Raton, Fla. The game was the second meeting of a three-game series between the programs. 

Despite the Owls taking an early lead in the second inning, the Hilltoppers pulled through in the seventh inning and put up four runs. The Owls beat the Hilltoppers on Friday night after only scoring one run the entire game. This now puts the teams tied with each other in the series. 

Pitching on WKU’s (22-6, 6-2 C-USA) side was junior Katie Gardner, who threw a total of 108 pitches, allowing two runs on two hits. Gardner also matched her career-high of 11 strikeouts. 

In the circle for Florida Atlantic (17-17, 5-3 C-USA) was junior Donnie Gobourne, who threw 142 pitches, allowing four runs on five hits while also bringing in nine strikeouts. 

The Owls put up two runs in the bottom of the first off a two-run RBI home run from junior Sara Berthiaume. The Hilltoppers struggled through the first six innings, tallying only two hits and six runners left on base. FAU struggled after its hot start. The Owls didn’t record a hit for the rest of the game and only tallied three base runners, but still led 2-0 after six innings.      

WKU found its groove in the top of the seventh with two outs. With a runner at third, junior TJ Webster stepped up to bat and hit an RBI single that put WKU on the board. Senior Taylor Davis followed Webster by plating her with an RBI single, tying the game at 2-2. 

After a walk put two Hilltoppers on base, WKU took their first lead of the night. The Hilltoppers added two more runs off a two-run RBI double from junior Brylee Hage, giving them a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Gardner continued her dominant performance with a three up, three down inning to secure the 4-2 win for WKU.  

The Hilltoppers and Owls will meet again in a rubber match Sunday at noon. 

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