WKU drops first C-USA game to Middle Tennessee

WKU infielder, TJ Webster (left) WKU infielder, Kennedy Foote (right) running back to the dugout during the game against Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The Hilltoppers would go on to fall 1-0 to EKU. 

Jake Moore

WKU Softball (15-7), (0-1, C-USA) began Conference USA play by dropping the opener of a four-game away series against Middle Tennessee University (19-17), (5-4, C-USA) by a score of 1-0 on Friday night. It was the fourth time this season that the Hilltoppers have been shut out.

Redshirt senior Kelsey Aikey made her 12th start of the season and held the Blue Raiders to just one run on one hit and picked up five strikeouts to push her career total to 529, tied for second most in program history. 

Aikey needs just 34 more strikeouts to pass WKU alum Emily Rosseau for most all-time. Rousseau currently holds the record with 562 K’s.

MTSU would threaten to score in the bottom of the second inning by loading the bases with no outs, but a pop out and two strikeouts from Aikey in a row put an end to a possible Blue Raider offensive breakthrough. 

MTSU looked to score again in the bottom of the fourth after Blue Raiders ended up on first and third, but Aikey hurled her fourth strikeout of the night to end the frame. 

Middle Tennessee would put the only run of the game on the board in the bottom of the fifth due to a throwing error to take a 1-0 lead. Redshirt junior Shelby Nunn took over for Kelsey Aikey in the bottom of the sixth and would pick up a strikeout to close out the frame.

Redshirt sophomore Jordan Ridge hit a no-out double in the top of the seventh inning to represent the tying run, but a strikeout followed by a double play would seal WKU’s fate.

Four Hilltoppers were stranded on the basepaths over the course of the night. The Hilltoppers would be retired in order in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Ridge’s double and a second inning single from redshirt freshman Taylor Sanders were the only hits the Hilltoppers could muster.

The game marks the second time in four games that the Hilltoppers have been shut out. The team has only managed to score four runs in that span.

The offense will need to warm up quickly as the Hilltoppers will play the Blue Raiders twice on Saturday with the first game of the doubleheader kicking off at 1 p.m. CT.

Softball beat reporter Jake Moore can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Charles_JMoore.