ESPNKY

Tops ground Eagles in Senior Day softball doubleheader

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Trailing 6-0 before recording a plate appearance on the day,
WKU Softball used 11 unanswered runs to secure its 12th come-from-behind victory of
the season to open the day’s doubleheader against Southern Miss. Following the 11-6
game one victory, the Hilltoppers completed the doubleheader sweep with a 4-1 game
two win.

“I felt like if we could get two wins today we would put ourselves in good
position,” head coach Amy Tudor opened. “Our bats came alive, in the circle I felt
like we held it down and we played great defense. So I’m happy to get two wins.”

With the victories, the Red and White climbed to 26-23 on the year including an even
10-10 mark in Conference USA action. Southern Miss, on the other hand, dropped to
24-25 overall including a 7-13 record in league play.

WKU saw six student-athletes account for nine multi-hit games on the day as Brittany
Vaughn, Kelsey McGuffin and Jordan Mauch, WKU’s 2-3-4 batters, each registered two
hits in both games.

Senior pitcher Kathryn Downing started both games for the Hilltoppers, taking a
no-decision in game one and coming back for the game two win.

“I felt like she threw well in the first game giving up only one earned run, the
hits were just falling in and she walked a couple people,” Tudor said of throwing
Downing in both contests. “But I thought she deserved another chance and she did a
great job in the second game.”

GAME 48: WKU 11, SOUTHERN MISS 6

After Southern Miss managed to take a 6-0 lead after the day’s first three outs on
five unearned runs, the Hilltoppers would hold the Golden Eagles scoreless the rest
of the way. WKU got on the board in the bottom of the frame after Vaughn blasted her
eighth home run of the season to make the score 6-1.

After holding Southern Miss scoreless in the opening half of the second inning, the
Hilltoppers tacked on three more runs to pull within two. Adarian Gray led off with
a walk and moved to third base on a Taylor Proctor double. Morgan McElroy followed
with a single up the middle to plate Gray from third and move Proctor over. Rebekah
Engelhardt followed with an RBI single to score Proctor and give the Hilltoppers a
2-0 lead.

Gray flashed the leather to end the top of the third inning, diving towards second
base to snag a rocket. Back at the plate, Mauch sent a no-doubter off a piece of
construction equipment past the left field wall to pull the Hilltoppers within one
tally.

WKU’s defense came up big in the top of the fourth inning, registering three web-gem
worthy plays in the frame. Two of the outs came on singles the Golden Eagles
attempted to stretch into doubles with assists coming from McGuffin and Haylee
Towers, respectively.

Batting around the order in the bottom of the fourth inning, WKU plated six runners
to take the lead for good. The tying run came on a Paige Carter double to
centerfield which plated McElroy. Vaughn followed with a double to move Carter to
third before a McGuffin single moved Vaughn and Carter up 60 feet. Mauch, Gray and
Proctor each followed with RBI knocks including a double off the bat of Proctor in
the frame.

Eight of WKU’s nine batters in the contest registered hits including multi-hit
performances from Vaughn, McGuffin, Mauch, Proctor, McElroy and Engelhardt.

Downing started the game but ended up with a no decision after 0.2 innings pitched
with a strikeout and just one earned run. Kelsey Aikey pitched the rest of the way
(6.1 IP), holding the Golden Eagles to just three hits and closing the game with a
called strike out.

GAME 49: WKU 4, SOUTHERN MISS 1

Game two began eerily similar to game one but a heads up defensive play by McElroy
to fire back to Proctor to tag out the Golden Eagle trying to score kept the game
scoreless for the second out in the opening frame. The Hilltoppers got to work in
the bottom of the first as Vaughn recorded a one-out double before moving to third
on a McGuffin single. Mauch followed with a single to plate Vaughn. During the next
at bat, Mauch stole second and induced a throw from the Southern Miss catcher to
allow McGuffin to score from third before Mauch moved 60 feet from the plate on the
throw home for the 2-0 WKU lead.

Southern Miss stranded a pair of runners on board in the next frame as well before
holding the Hilltoppers scoreless in the bottom of the second inning.

WKU struck again in the bottom of the third when a bit of Red and White small ball
plated McGuffin on a Mauch single to right field. McGuffin had moved into scoring
position a pitch prior with a stolen base.

USM finally ended WKU’s streak of 13 unanswered runs, spanning the two games, by
plating a runner in the top of the fourth inning. However, the Hilltoppers would end
up with the final say when Carter was able to tag and score from third base on an
RBI sacrifice fly by Gray for the 4-1 final score.

Downing worked for 4.0 innings in the circle to earn the victory and move to 14-10
on the year before Towers came in and closed out the day allowing zero hits. Towers
faced just eight batters thanks for a WKU double play over her 3.0 innings of work
while registering her second save of the season.

Vaughn, McGuffin and Mauch registered another multi-hit game in the second half of
the day’s doubleheader.

The Hilltoppers will return to action this upcoming weekend as the squad heads to
Miami, Florida, to pay a visit to FIU with games slated for Saturday and Sunday.

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

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