Kathryn Downing’s two-hit gem lifts WKU over Murray

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Kathryn Downing’s two-hit gem combined with stellar WKU
Softball defense helped the Hilltoppers get back on track with a 1-0 shutout of
Murray State. Downing faced one over the minimum in the one-hour and 10-minute
non-conference tilt in front of a packed WKU Softball Complex.

“The crowd was fantastic for this game at home tonight,” Tudor opened. “Winning is
contagious and we are going to carry this momentum with us into the weekend. We
played great defense and I think our plate approach is one area that we still have
to improve on, but overall you’re going to take a win.”

WKU improved to 19-18 on the year with the victory while handing Murray State its
10th loss of the season as the Racers now sit at 25-10.

After a quick first three innings of play, the Hilltoppers got on the board in the
fourth inning – which proved to be the most crucial play of the day. In the bottom
of the fourth to start the frame, Brittany Vaughn doubled down the third base line
on the fourth pitch of the at-bat to get things going for the Hilltoppers. Jordan
Mauch did her part by moving Vaughn up to third with a ground out to the pitcher.
With Vaughn 60 feet from home, catcher Taylor Proctor hit a hard ground ball that
bounced over the Racers shortstop to score the eventual winning run.

With Kathryn Downing spinning a one-hitter at the start of the sixth inning, Racer
Kaylee Ranburger singled to try to pull some momentum. WKU responded, though, with a
game-changing double play as the Hilltoppers used four arms to throw out the Murray
State runner at the plate to put an end to the threat.

Just one out away from victory, Downing closed the game with a swinging strikeout,
to close her seventh-career complete game shutout. The senior pitcher faced just one
over the minimum, throwing 69 pitches with a pair of strikeouts and just two hits
allowed. The outing marks Downing’s third-career two hitter while on The Hill.

“I felt like her stuff was really good today so we could set hitters up and she did
an excellent job of executing,” Tudor said of Downing’s performance. “She had a few
misses but the misses were good and that’s what we talk about. I felt like she had
great command on the mound today.”

WKU’s hitting came from the top half of the lineup, getting hits from Kara Brewer,
Vaughn, Mauch and Proctor.

“Yesterday was probably our longest and hardest practice that we’ve had in a long
time,” Tudor shared. “We were really focusing more on defense than anything because
that is what is going to win ball games in the end. I felt like we played great
defense behind her and she kept us in the game with total control at the mound.”

The Hilltoppers will continue their homestand this weekend with UAB coming to town
for a cross-division Conference USA matchup. The sides will play a doubleheader on
Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. CT, with the final game scheduled for a noon first
pitch on Sunday.

How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUSoftball, and on Instagram and Facebook.

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