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WKU softball goes 3-1 at Hilltopper Spring Fling

Ian Pitchford
WKU Softball junior Randi Drinnon (7), swings at a pitch during WKU’s matchup against Northern Illinois University on Sunday, March 3, 2024 at the WKU Softball Complex. WKU won 11-2.

WKU Softball hosted the University of Dayton, Northern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University March 1-3 in the Hilltopper Classic, going  3-1 on the weekend.

The Lady Toppers are now 13-6-1 in the season.

WKU v. Dayton

The face off against the Dayton Flyers was set to take place on Friday, but was canceled due to weather.

However, the Hilltoppers were still able to prove themselves against Dayton on Saturday. WKU defeated the Flyers 2-0.

Fifth year infielder Sophie Weber gave WKU an electric start with a homer in the second inning.

WKU put their second and final run on the board when redshirt junior catcher and utility Cheyanne Sales drove outfielder Kendle White into home with a single to left center.

Fifth year pitcher Katie Gardner spent all seven innings on the mound and allowed only three hits with zero runs. She also threw seven strikeouts in the competition.

WKU v. Northern Illinois – Game one

The Lady Toppers met the Northern Illinois Huskies for the first time on Saturday. WKU took their second win of the weekend 5-1.

Scoring didn’t start until later in the matchup. Freshman infielder Morgan Sharpe had a bunt single up the middle to drive fifth year infielder TJ Webster home in the fifth inning.

The sixth inning was eventful for the Hilltoppers as they put up the remaining four runs. Freshman infielder Becca Campbell grabbed the second run when she scored on a Husky throwing error.

On the following play, senior catcher and outfielder Jessica Bush reached on a fielder’s choice to  drive White in for another Topper run.

Later, senior utility Kelsey Schmidt scored on a passed ball. Similarly, sophomore outfielder Anniston Bray scored WKU’s final run on a passed ball.

Freshman pitcher Rylan Smith threw all seven innings with three hits, one run and seven strikeouts.

WKU v. Northern Illinois – Game two

WKU clashed with the Huskies again on Sunday and added another triumph to their record after five innings and a score of 10-2. The matchup ended early following the fifth inning.

Fifth year infielder Taylor Sanders’ homer in the first should have been a clue to fans as to how well the game would go for WKU.

In the second, Sharpe flew out to left field, which ultimately drove fifth year outfielder Brylee Hage home.

In the fourth, Weber doubled down to drive Hage in again. Next, Schmidt walked which advanced Weber home for another Hilltopper run.

On another play, Bush grounded to second base to drive Sales and junior catcher and infielder Randi Drinnon home.

Later, Webster had a bunt single which allowed Sales to score. 

To close out WKU scoring for the fourth inning was a Hage single up the middle to drive Schmidt in.

After a NIU run in the fifth, WKU responded with a double from Sales to drive Sharpe home one last time.

Redshirt Junior Kelsie Houchens spent four of the five innings pitching for the Lady Toppers. She allowed five hits, two runs and threw one strikeout.


Pitcher Katie Gardner (5) pitches during Western Kentucky University’s game against Southern Illinois University on Sunday, March 3, 2024. (Eli Randolph)

WKU v Southern Illinois

WKU’s first and only loss of the weekend came to the Southern Illinois University Salukis 2-0.

Both teams’ failure to score led the game to an extra inning. SIU put up both of their runs in the top of the eighth, but WKU was unable to respond.

Gardner pitched the entire game with four hits, two runs and seven strikeouts.

The Lady Toppers will take on the Indiana University Hoosiers on March 5 in Bloomington, Indiana to continue their season.

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

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