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WKU softball goes 3-2 at Chattanooga Challenge

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.

WKU Softball competed in the Chattanooga Challenge in Chattanooga, Tennessee Feb. 16-18, picking up three wins following losses in their first two contests.

WKU now holds a 6-3-1 season record.

Day 1

Competition on the first day of the tournament proved difficult for the Hilltoppers as they came up short in both games.

WKU faced North Alabama on Friday in their first game of the weekend, falling 3-1.

WKU scored first with a run driven in by junior catcher and infielder Randi Drinnon in the first inning.

WKU failed to keep up with UNA, letting the Lions score once in the second inning and twice in the fourth inning.

WKU fell 7-5 in their second game of the day to Chattanooga. Play ended following the fifth inning due to weather.

The Lady Toppers scored first after a fielding error by Chattanooga. 

After a WKU scoring drought and four runs from UTC throughout the third and fourth innings, the Lady Toppers showed back up in the fifth. 

Drinnon drove in a run with a single up the middle sending fifth year outfielder Brylee Hage home. Later in the inning, senior utility player Kelsey Schmidt singled to right center, sending Drinnon in for another run. 

Despite WKU’s push, UTC scored again in the bottom of the fifth and WKU’s chance at victory was cut short.

In the competition, freshman pitcher Rylan Smith pitched three innings and gave up three runs. 

Day 2

The Lady Toppers had a chance at redemption on Saturday… and they took it.

WKU defeated North Alabama 7-3 in their second meeting of the tournament.

UNA had a strong start with three runs in the third inning. However, WKU claimed the rest of the game with four runs spread throughout the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

The first Topper run of the game was driven in by fifth year infielder Sophie Weber’s double to left center. In the fifth inning, fifth year infielder Taylor Sander singled to left field to drive Hage in for a run.

Freshman infielder Morgan Sharpe drove the first WKU run in the sixth with a single. Webster and Weber scored on the same play to take the lead.

To follow, Sanders homered, which scored Sharpe and Hage, ultimately winning the game for WKU.

Smith pitched three innings, allowing two to score in the matchup. Sophomore pitcher Maddy Wood pitched a total of four innings with zero earned runs. 

In the second half of the day, WKU bested Murray State 3-2.

The Lady Toppers didn’t score until the fifth inning when Webster reached on an error, scoring freshman infielder Becca Campbell. In the same inning, Sharpe singled to short which allowed Schmidt to score.

WKU secured the game in the seventh inning with a Sanders double to left field that scored Hage.

Gardner pitched all seven innings with six strikeouts and two earned runs.

Day 3

The Hilltoppers grabbed their third win of the weekend in their final game of the tournament against Ball State, 10-7.

The second inning saw ample action as both teams scored three times. Drinnon scored on a wild pitch. Sharpe later singled to left field which drove Webster and Weber in.

In the third inning, Sanders homered to make the score 4-3.

Sanders later doubled to right center which drove Sharpe in. Weber homered in the sixth.

Smith pitched five innings and walked away with four strikeouts. She gave away three hits and only one earned run.

WKU Softball will make their 2024 home debut on Feb. 23 at 3 pm CST at WKU Softball Complex.

Sports reporter Molly St. Clair can be reached at [email protected].


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