WKU completes sweep over Blazers to close out the weekend

WKU utility player, Jordan Ridge (9) makes the final out of the 6th inning during the game against UAB on Sunday, March 21, 2021.

Jake Moore

WKU Softball (14-4) returned to the Softball Complex on Sunday to finish off a three-game weekend sweep of Conference USA rival UAB (13-13) in a series that will not count towards conference play records.

“I feel like from this weekend we had a lot of contributors both on offense and in the circle,” head coach Amy Tudor said. “I feel like our depth is really important moving forward into conference play.”

The Hilltoppers walked off both games against the Blazers on Saturday and were hungry to grab a fourth straight win.

Redshirt senior Kelsey Aikey made her eighth start of the year after pitching a five-inning complete game in the Hilltoppers’ first game on Saturday and threw three innings of one-run softball before being relieved by fellow redshirt senior Shelby Nunn, who finished out the game.

The Blazers struck first due to an RBI single in the top of the first, but WKU responded immediately with a bases-clearing double from redshirt freshman Taylor Sanders to take a 3-1 lead. 

WKU would extend the lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a solo homerun from redshirt sophomore Kennedy Sullivan, her fifth of the season. That long ball was followed up later in the inning by a two-run home run from fellow redshirt sophomore Jordan Ridge in the same spot, her second of the year, to put WKU up 6-1.

Redshirt junior Maddie Bowlds would then double to drive in Taylor Sanders to close a four-run third with the Hilltoppers up 7-1. The Blazers would tack on a run in the top of the fourth on a fielder’s choice to cut the lead to 7-2.

WKU added two more runs in the fifth to make it a 9-2 game thanks to Taylor Sanders stealing home and a sacrifice fly from redshirt freshman Brylee Hage to score Maddie Bowlds, and the Blazers would prove unable to overcome the deficit. 

“We know that UAB is a tough competitor, even though it doesn’t count as conference play,” Paige Carter said after the sweep. “To get a glimpse of what [Conference USA play] is about… it was really good to see that.”

Redshirt sophomore Taylor Davis racked up nine hits throughout the series, Taylor Sanders notched three doubles and five Hilltoppers stole bases in a well-rounded weekend performance. The sweep should instill the Hilltoppers with plenty of confidence as they have proved they can hold their own against Conference USA competition. 

The Hilltoppers will stay in Bowling Green to face no. 9 Kentucky on Wednesday, March 24 at 6 p.m. 

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