WKU’s offense stays hot for series win over FIU


Marshall Canupp

Hilltoppers softball Savannah Fierke (17) and Katie Gardner (5) hold each other close as they skip to the outfield before their matchup with Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas on March 21st at the WKU Softball Complex.

Izzy Lanuza, Sports Reporter

WKU Softball’s offense came through for the second consecutive game in a 7-5 road win over the Florida International Panthers on Saturday. The win gives the Hilltoppers the series victory. 

WKU (24-7, 8-3 C-USA) totaled eight hits on the day with five different Hilltoppers recording a hit. Junior Brylee Hage led WKU, going 3-for-4 at the plate, batting in two runs. FIU (15-19, 1-7 C-USA) had seven hits with freshman Hanna Johanning hitting a three-run homer in the top of the sixth. 

The pitchers dominated the game early on. WKU junior Katie Gardner allowed two hits through the first five innings while allowing only three base runners in that stretch. FIU senior Kendahl Dunford allowed no hits in the first two innings before the Hilltoppers bats started to connect in the bottom of the third inning.   

After FIU went three up, three down in the third, WKU picked up a walk before senior Taylor Davis reached on an error. Hage doubled, batting in the first run of the game. Senior Jordan Ridge added to WKU’s lead with an RBI single. WKU led 2-0 after the third inning.  

WKU added to its lead with a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth. With two runners on, Davis hit an RBI single up the middle. Hage followed with an RBI single before Sanders doubled to score two more runs, giving WKU a 6-0 lead. 

WKU padded its lead in the fifth. The Hilltoppers loaded the bases with one out before Webster grounded out allowing a runner to score and secure a 7-0 lead. 

FIU started to heat up in the top of the sixth. The Panthers put two runners on base quickly before senior Venessa Gallegos singled, scoring the first run of the game for FIU. WKU freshman Kelsie Houchens relieved Gardner after the run before Johanning connected for a three-run home run to cut the WKU lead to 7-4 after the sixth inning. 

FIU started the top of the seventh with a ground out. Sophomore Abigail Brown singled before senior Brittany Phillips doubled with two outs to cut the Panther deficit to two runs. Gallegos grounded out, giving WKU the 7-5 win. 

WKU will finish up its series with FIU Sunday at 1 p.m. CT at the WKU Softball Complex. 

Sports Reporter Izzy Lanuza can be reached at isabel.lanuza93[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @izzylanuza.