BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Softball will open the 2017 campaign at the Mississippi State-hosted Bulldog Kickoff Classic with five games spanning Friday-Sunday. Under fourth-year head coach Amy Tudor, the Hilltoppers are a young squad with 10 student-athletes looking to make their first Division I appearances this weekend.
Friday, Feb. 10 – 10 a.m. CT | vs. Stephen F. Austin | Livestats
Friday, Feb. 10 – 12:30 p.m. CT | vs. Georgia State | Livestats
Saturday, Feb. 11 – 12:30 p.m. CT | at Mississippi State | Livestats | SEC Network+
Saturday, Feb. 11 – 3 or 5:30 p.m. CT | 1 vs. 4/2 vs. 3 | Check back for links
Sunday, Feb. 12 – 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. CT | Consolation or Championship | Check back for links
Weekend play will open Friday morning for the Hilltoppers against an uncommon opponent in Stephen F. Austin, a team that the WKU program has never faced. The Ladyjacks are coming off of a 28-29 2016 season. The Hilltoppers will take on the Georgia State Panthers in Friday’s second game. WKU is 5-3 all-time against the Panthers with the most recent meeting taking place in 2014 when the Hilltoppers claimed the 9-7 decision.
Saturday’s first tilt will feature the WKU squad taking on its first SEC opponent of the season in a 12:30 p.m. CT contest from Nusz Park in Starkville, Mississippi. The Red and White are 2-3 all-time against the Bulldogs as MSU has claimed the two most recent outings.
Remaining weekend play will be determined by the results of WKU’s play in the first three games. If the Hilltoppers draw the 1 or 4 seeds, they’ll play at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, while a 2 or 3 seed would put them in the 5:30 p.m. CT contest. A win would advance the squad to Sunday’s championship match (1:30 p.m. CT) while a set-back would put the Hilltoppers in the 11 a.m. CT consolation game.
Expected to lead the team from the circle, senior Kathryn Downing will look to begin her final season at WKU on a high note. Moving into a pitching role last season, the Bowling Green native posted a 2.76 ERA while throwing from start to finish in six contests. Downing is Tudor’s first four-year player both at WKU and in her career, making this season even more special. In their first three years together on The Hill, Tudor and Downing have yet to fall in a season-opener.
Leading the squad from behind the plate is the other half of WKU’s senior class in Taylor Proctor, who was a walk-on a year ago. The Bowling Green native led all of this season’s returners with a .416 on-base percentage in 2016.
Following this weekend’s action in Starkville, Mississippi, the Hilltopper squad will return home for the following two weekends, hosting the Hilltopper Classic and Hilltopper Spring Fling outings for nine games at the WKU Softball Complex.
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUSoftball, Instagram @WKU_Softball and Facebook @WKUSoftball.