WKU completes comeback against Marshall with walk-off home run by Bowlds

Lynda Eernisse, Softball Reporter

WKU Softball won a high-scoring affair 10-9 against the Marshall Thundering Herd Saturday afternoon on a walk-off home run by fifth-year senior Maddie Bowlds.

The Hilltoppers move to 29-9 on the year and 12-5 in Conference USA play while Marshall is now  30-12 on the season with the loss and 12-5 in conference play.

WKU put out a combination of four pitchers; junior Katie Gardner, redshirt freshman Kelsie Houchens, freshman Savannah Fierke and fifth-year senior Shelby Nunn. Gardner threw 1.1 innings, allowing six runs on five hits. Houchens pitched 1.1 innings, allowing two runs while Fierke went four innings, only giving up one run. Nunn closed out the game for the Hilltoppers.

Sophomore Brianna Mccown started for Marshall, pitching four innings and allowing five runs before junior Sydney Nester relieved her in the fifth inning. Nester threw 2.1 innings, giving up five runs on five hits.

For the second day in a row, Marshall grabbed the first lead of the game. After two lead-off singles, senior Saige Pye hit a three-run home run in the top of the first to give Marshall a 3-0 lead. WKU retaliated with two runs of its own. Junior Brylee Hage scored on a dropped fly ball and junior Taylor Sanders scored on a passed ball to put the score at 3-2 at the end of the first.

In the top of the second inning, The Herd put two on with a single and a walk before senior Mya Stevenson hit another three-run home run for Marshall. WKU put up one run in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by fifth-year senior Bailey Curry to make the score 6-3 after two innings of play.

Marshall extended its lead in the top of the third on a two-run home run by Pye. WKU answered with a solo home run from senior Jordan Ridge to cut the deficit to 8-4.

WKU’s pitching stepped up in the fourth, not allowing a run. In the bottom of the frame, senior TJ Webster cut into the Herd’s lead on an RBI single with two on base and two outs to put the deficit at 8-5 going into the fifth.

Both teams went scoreless in the fifth inning.

WKU’s pitching continued its hot streak, keeping the score the same in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the frame, Curry put up another solo home run. Freshman Randi Drinnon drew a walk before advancing to second and then third on a steal and passed ball. She scored on a ground out to cut the lead to 8-7. 

In the top of the seventh inning, the Herd extended their lead. They put a runner on base on an error with two outs before a single put runners on the corners. A wild pitch scored a run to give Marshall a 9-7 lead going into the bottom of the frame.

The Hilltoppers made an incredible comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning. They led off with a single before Sanders brought in a run on an RBI double. Bowlds then walked off the game with a two-run home run to give WKU a 10-9 win. 

WKU and Marshall will finish their three-game series Sunday, April 24 at 1 p.m in the rubber match.

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