BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Just as the previous two games of the series began, Marshall
struck first in Sunday’s rubber match before WKU Softball got the final say yet
again to claim a 4-1 win and clinch the crucial Conference USA series. Freshman
pitcher Shelby Nunn allowed just two hits en route to her 15th victory of the season
as the Hilltopper bats stayed hot to out-hit the Thundering Herd 8-2.
“I thought Shelby did a great job of bouncing back today,” head coach Amy Tudor
shared. “Her pitches were working today and her change-up was definitely on. After
she got past inning one, she got on a roll and got in sync and fought through.
Looking back at yesterday, Kelsey Aikey did a great job of coming in and shutting
the door as well. Overall, they both did a really good job for us in the circle.”
WKU’s ninth come-from-behind victory of the season helped the squad to a 26-20
overall record including an even 9-9 mark in league play. Marshall dropped to
23-24-1 on the year with an 11-9-1 C-USA reading with the loss. The Thundering Herd
had won its previous two series entering the weekend on The Hill.
Marshall took advantage of a slow start by the Red and White, making WKU pay for a
leadoff single, two walks and an error in the top of the first. The Hilltoppers
looked as if they would match the Herd’s tally in the bottom of the frame with two
hits and a Marshall error but both WKU runners ended up stranded in scoring
Beginning with her strikeout for the final out of the first frame, Nunn and the
Hilltopper defense went on to retire 15-straight Marshall batters. Marshall finally
got a runner on board via an error but an induced popout ended the threat. The Herd
finally broke through for its second knock of the game in the top of the seventh
after Nunn had held 19-straight batters hitless.
Kendall Smith evened the contest up with a two-out home run to the parking structure
in the bottom of the fourth. Smith’s fifth longball of the year was WKU’s fourth of
the game and first of three in the frame to chase the Marshall starter.
After stranding the go-ahead run at third in the bottom of the fifth, WKU headed to
the plate the next trip on a mission. Rebekah Engelhardt waited out a full-count
walk to lead things off before Smith laid down a bunt single that got by the
Marshall pitcher. Up next, Morgan McElroy reached on a throwing error which allowed
Engelhardt to score from second for the go-ahead run. Still not done, Maddie Bowlds
stepped into the box and connected for a double over the right fielder’s glove that
brought home Smith and McElroy for the 4-1 Hilltopper advantage.
Nunn tossed 104 pitches en route to her 10th complete game of the season. The
freshman moved to 15-12 with her first two-hit or less performance while striking
out four and allowing just two walks.
With its first scheduled open week since the early season tournaments, WKU will
continue working before heading to the Sunshine State for another critical
three-game series at Florida Atlantic.
* Jordan Thomas continued to put her touch on the program’s single-season
walks record, drawing her 39th free base of the season.
* Kendall Smith’s solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning marked the
fifth longball of her freshman campaign.
* Freshman pitcher Shelby Nunn put together a gem to move to 15-12 on the
year. Her two-hitter was the fewest hits she has allowed in a complete game. Of her
104 pitches, 66 were strikes. The start brought her season total to 37 which ranks
third on the WKU single-season record list, just one away from tying the record.
* WKU claimed its first series win over Marshall since the 2015 campaign. The
Hilltoppers are now 7-9 all-time against the Herd with a 4-4 mark when playing in
* Over the weekend, WKU Softball hit five combined home runs to bring its
season total to 34. Brittany Vaughn leads the way with seven while Engelhardt and
McGuffin are both up to six.