STARKVILLE, Miss. — WKU Softball rebounded on day two of the Bulldog Kickoff Classic, taking down the host, Mississippi State in the day’s opening game. The Hilltoppers then closed play in the late game after falling 2-1 to Georgia State in eight innings. After two days of play in Starkville, Mississippi, the Red and White sport a record of 2-2.
GAME 3: WKU 1, MISSISSIPPI STATE 0
Behind the plate, senior Taylor Proctor set the tone in the first inning, throwing out the first stolen base attempted against the Hilltoppers in 2017. Mississippi State attempted to steal third base on the play but Proctor’s throw and Adarian Gray’s tag sent the runner back to the dugout.
WKU Softball moved to 2-1 with a 1-0 victory over the host Bulldogs on the second day of the Bulldog Kickoff Classic. The Hilltoppers’ lone run came after Kara Brewer singled to lead off the top of the fourth inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. During the same at bat, Brewer stole third. Then, in the midst of Paige Carter’s pinch-hit at bat, Rebekah Engelhardt (pinch-running for Jordan Mauch after a walk) stole second base and Brewer crossed the plate on the throw.
Kathryn Downing pitched the complete game and secured her second victory of the season in the circle. This marked the senior’s third-career complete-game shutout performance. The previous two came last season in a 2-0 win vs. Central Arkansas and a 4-0 victory at Charlotte.
WKU’s victory over the Bulldogs was also the hosts’ first setback of the season.
“I thought we came back very resiliently after yesterday,” head coach Amy Tudor said. “We came out like veterans against Mississippi State even though we are much younger. I was really proud of how Downing pitched in that game and how we ran the bases. I also thought that we played great defense in that one.”
GAME 4: GEORGIA STATE 2, WKU 1 (8)
After Morgan McElroy took a one-out pitch to the back, Adarian Gray singled to right field advancing McElroy to second base. Taylor Childress followed with a well-executed sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners into scoring position. On a wild pitch during Kelsey McGuffin’s at bat, McElroy scored to put the Hilltoppers up 1-0.
Georgia State evened the score in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-out single to centerfield.
Both sides put up zeroes through the remainder of regulation, forcing both sides to head to extra innings for the first time in 2017. After WKU stranded runners on first and second in the top of the eighth inning, the Tops had two outs on the Panthers in the bottom of the frame. Georgia State closed the game with a walk-off sacrifice fly to centerfield when the tagging runner beat out WKU’s throw.
Despite picking up her second loss in the circle of the season, Haylee Towers pitched all 7.2 innings for a complete game and allowed just five hits and one earned run.
“What a bounce back for Towers on the mound,” said Tudor. “I’m so proud of her ability to come back and face the same team. That just shows you what she really has in the tank. The wins will come for her, the ball just didn’t bounce her way today.”
WKU Softball will close out play at the Bulldog Kickoff Classic on Sunday. The Hilltoppers will take on Stephen F. Austin in the consolation game that is slated for a 10 a.m. CT first pitch.
“I’m looking for us to be able to manufacture some runs tomorrow,” Tudor shared. “We need to provide our pitching staff some run support to win these ball games, that’s our main goal.”
Game 1 | vs. Stephen F. Austin | W, 4-1 | Box Score (PDF)
Game 2 | vs. Georgia State | L, 13-1 | Box Score (PDF)
Game 3 | at Mississippi State | W, 1-0 | Box Score (PDF)
Game 4 | vs. Georgia State | L, 2-1 (8) | Box Score (PDF)
Sunday, Feb. 12 – 10 a.m. CT | Consolation Game vs. S.F. Austin | Check back for links
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUSoftball, Instagram @WKU_Softball and Facebook @WKUSoftball.