BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – With 24 hits spread evenly across Saturday’s doubleheader
against Marshall, WKU Softball took the split decision on The Hill. The Hilltoppers
posted their largest come-from-behind victory yet with eight unanswered runs to
claim an 8-6 win in the series opener against the Thundering Herd on Saturday. Game
two saw the Red and White again fall behind early but erase the deficit before
falling 7-5 in eight innings to the Thundering Herd.
“Before the game, we really emphasized that no deficit could be too large for our
team to overcome and little did we know that would come in to fruition just a couple
innings later,” head coach Amy Tudor opened. “We came out and showed our fight and
put ourselves in a position to win two big games today. If we continue to work to
clean up our walks and be smarter on the base paths we will certainly put ourselves
in another positive position tomorrow.”
Brittany Vaughn had herself a day, combining for a 6-for-9 showing at the plate with
seven RBI, two home runs, a double and a stolen base. Her 4-for-4 performance in
game one was her first career four-hit game and included her first multi-home run
WKU moved to 25-20 overall with the day’s results and is now 8-9 in Conference USA
play. Marshall moved to 23-23-1 on the year and 11-8-1 in C-USA action.
GAME 44: WKU 8, MARSHALL 6
Trailing 6-0 before its second trip to the plate, WKU responded with eight
unanswered runs – tallying at least one each of its final five trips to the plate –
to secure its largest come-from-behind victory of the season.
Jordan Vorbrink was the first Hilltopper run across, representing WKU’s scoring in
the bottom of the second. After retiring the Marshall batters in order in the top of
the third, the Red and White got back to work on offense. Brittany Vaughn stepped
into the box and sent the first pitch she saw out of the park. Two pitches later,
Kelsey McGuffin followed with a longball of her own for WKU’s first back-to-back
home runs since the 2013 campaign.
WKU kept the offense rolling with a three-run fourth inning to knot the game.
Kendall Smith opened things up with a leadoff single before Maddie Bowlds reached on
an error, moving Smith into scoring position. After Smith swiped third base, Vaughn
stepped into the box and sent her second home run of the game out of the park on a
full count to even the score at 6-6.
In the bottom of the fifth, WKU took its first lead of the contest after Rebekah
Engelhardt made it to second base on a single and error with one out. Two batters
later, Morgan McElroy stepped in for her first at bat of the game and sent a single
to right field, allowing Engelhardt to score for the go-ahead strike.
Marshall wasn’t going away however, with two outs in the top of the sixth, a
Thundering Herd batter singled to centerfield to represent the tying run on the base
path. On the fourth pitch of the next at bat, Maddie Bowlds held on to a foul ball
after a full-extension dive towards the first base dugout to get the Hilltoppers
back on offense.
Jordan Thomas led off the bottom of the sixth with a single before Vaughn followed
suit. McGuffin was hit by an 0-2 count pitch to load the bases. Two batters later
with one away, Vorbrink drew an RBI hit by pitch for a WKU insurance run, scoring
The Thundering Herd led off the top of the seventh with a double to right-center
before reliever Kelsey Aikey and the Hilltopper defense shut it down. Aikey would go
on to induce a groundout and flyout before registering the final out herself with a
strikeout looking to secure her third save of the season.
Shelby Nunn picked up her 14th victory of the season and moved to 14-11 overall
after 5.0 innings of work. The freshman struck out three while allowing five earned
runs. Aikey closed the game, handling the final two innings while allowing just two
hits and zero walks. The sophomore is now up to six saves on her career which ties
her for second in the Hilltopper record book.
GAME 45: MARSHALL 7, WKU 5 (8)
Game two begin eerily similar to the day’s first tilt as Marshall struck for a big
five-run third inning to get the scoring started. The Hilltoppers again responded in
the bottom of the frame for a single tally. After a leadoff McElroy single, a
sacrifice bunt that Bowlds reached safely on thanks to a Marshall fielding error and
a Vaughn single through the left side, WKU added its second run of the contest to
cut the deficit to three.
WKU would go on to allow just one Marshall runner to get on base over the next three
innings before using a three-run seventh inning to send the contest to extra
innings. McElroy dropped a one-out single in just over the Marshall pitcher’s glove
before moving to second on a Bowlds’ base hit. Thomas stepped in and loaded the
bases with a single through the right side before Vaughn sent a double to the
right-center gap to plate both Bowlds and McElroy to make it a one-run game. After
the Thundering Herd intentionally walked McGuffin, Vorbrink stepped into the box and
sent a single to left field that allowed Thomas to score and tie the game at 5-5.
Paige Carter would follow with a single to load the bases but WKU was unable to
strike again for the walk off.
In extras for the fourth C-USA series, the Hilltoppers are still seeking their first
extra-inning victory of the season after Marshall was able to retake the lead in the
top of the eighth before WKU ended the game with the winning run at the plate.
Throwing the game’s final 5.0 innings, Nunn (14-12) took the loss in game two after
allowing two runs on three hits with a pair of strikeouts. WKU’s seventh-inning
surge took Aikey off the line for the decision after she tossed 3.0 innings of
two-hit ball but allowed five runs.
* In the bottom of the third inning in game one, WKU knocked back-to-back
home runs within three pitches of each other. Brittany Vaughn sent the first pitch
she saw to straight-away center to lead off the frame before Kelsey McGuffin sent a
1-0 count ball at PS3. The last time WKU hit back-to-back home runs was vs. SEMO on
March 21, 2013.
* Brittany Vaughn also became the first Hilltopper to hit multiple home runs
in the same game this season. The redshirt-senior went yard in her second and third
at bats of game one and finished with four RBI in the game.
* Trailing 6-0 after the top of the sixth, WKU slowing chipped away at the
deficit before Morgan McElroy used an RBI single for the go-ahead hit in the bottom
of the sixth after Brittany Vaughn had tied the game at 6-all with her three-run
* Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Aikey secured her third save of the season and the
sixth of her career as WKU claimed the day’s first game. With the save, Aikey is now
tied for the second-most saves in a single season as well as the second-most saves
in a career. Aikey also match her single-season school record with her 18th relief
appearance of the season. She set the program record of 18 during her freshman
campaign. The Cedar Falls, Iowa, native needs just three more relief appearances to
tie the career relief appearances program record held by Adrienne Lathrop (2003-06)
* Freshman Jordan Thomas drew her 38th walk of the season in game two of the
doubleheader and now owns sole possession of WKU’s single-season walks record with
seven regular season games left to play.