Hilltoppers run-rule FIU on walk-off grand slam, sweeping the series

Hilltopper+Softball%E2%80%99s+pitcher+Shelby+Nunn+%2810%29+takes+her+shot+at+striking+out+the+batter+for+the+Arkansas+Razorbacks%2C+during+their+matchup+with+the+Razorbacks+on+March+21st+at+the+WKU+Softball+Complex.

Marshall Canupp

Hilltopper Softball’s pitcher Shelby Nunn (10) takes her shot at striking out the batter for the Arkansas Razorbacks, during their matchup with the Razorbacks on March 21st at the WKU Softball Complex.

Lynda Eernisse, Softball Reporter

WKU Softball run-ruled Florida International Sunday afternoon 8-0 to secure a sweep over its conference opponent. 

The run-rule victory came after junior Taylor Sanders hit her first ever grand slam in the bottom of the fifth. For the day, she went 2-for-3 at the plate.  

“Our main goal was to focus on ourselves and get better for the week, and I think that we did that coming into this weekend,” Sanders said. “We really focused on hitting it, and I think it was one of our best weekends hitting.” 

The Hilltoppers’ are now 25-7 for the season and 9-3 in conference play while taking control of the Conference USA East Division. The Panthers have fallen to 15-20 on the year and 1-8 in C-USA play. 

WKU fifth-year senior Shelby Nunn got the start in the circle.  She threw a complete game shutout, only allowing three hits. Senior Kendahl Dunford threw 4.1 innings for the Panthers, allowing five runs on five hits. Junior Alexys Lawson relieved Dunford in fifth and allowed the walk-off grand slam. 

Neither team recorded a hit in the first inning. Hilltopper senior Jordan Ridge later put her team on the board with a 1-0 lead after a solo home run. Sanders singled before advancing to third later in the inning. She put WKU 2-0 after a wild pitch allowed her to score. 

“I’m not typically a home run hitter, so honestly I was just trying to hit the ball hard and get on base for my team,” Ridge said.

Nunn dominated the game thoroughly. She gave up three hits between the second and third inning before pitching three consecutive three up, three down innings. The Hilltoppers went cold in the third and fourth with one hit in both innings until striking fire in the bottom of the fifth. 

Junior TJ Webster singled to lead-off before senior Davis batted her in on an RBI single. Davis scored later in the inning off senior Jordan Ridge’s RBI single. WKU loaded the bases on a walk before Sanders hit a grand slam to walk-off the game. WKU won 8-0. 

“We did a good job at all facets of the game this weekend,” WKU head coach Amy Tudor said. “I felt like we made really good adjustments this week at practice, and then we put them in play in our game today.” 

Up next, the Hilltoppers will be in a mid-week matchup against Belmont at the WKU Softball Complex at 6 p.m on Wednesday, April 6.

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