STARKVILLE, Miss. — Day three of the Bulldog Kickoff Classic was highlighted by redshirt-junior Brittany Vaughn’s first home run as a Hilltopper along with Kathryn Downing’s second-straight shutout in the circle as the WKU squad took down Stephen F. Austin 2-0. Despite recording just one hit on the day, the Hilltopper defense provided quality support denying six SFA baserunners.
“Again, this was a strong performance by [Kathryn] Downing – I thought she had an outstanding weekend in the circle,” opened head coach Amy Tudor. “She had command of all of her pitches and that’s all that we can ask of her.”
The Hilltoppers closed the first weekend of the 2017 campaign with a 3-2 record including a win over SEC-host Mississippi State.
“I would say this is the team’s most well-rounded game so far aside from the errors in the field, but those didn’t affect us,” Tudor continued. “I thought all weekend that all of our wins were good team wins.”
With the game still scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, Brittany Vaughn connected on the first pitch she saw, sending the ball over the left field fence for her fifth career home run. The homer was her first in the Red and White and the first for the Hilltoppers this season.
“Brittany’s [Vaughn] been tattooing a few balls and finally one just got out of here. It was going to come, it was just a matter of time and I thought she did a good job.”
In the bottom of the next inning, the Hilltoppers added to their lead after loading the bases with two outs followed by a Haylee Towers base on balls. Taylor Proctor touched the plate on the play to double the WKU lead.
Both sides traded zeroes in the sixth inning to send the game to the top of the seventh inning with WKU ahead 2-0 over Stephen F. Austin. Kathryn Downing returned to the mound in the top of the final frame, and with the help of the defense, sent the Ladyjacks back to the dugout in order. The senior pitcher closed the book on her third win in the circle (3-0) with her second strikeout of the day. This victory also marked the second-consecutive complete-game shutout for the Toppers with Downing in the circle.
“As soon as we get more offensive production that will take some pressure off of the circle and a little pressure off of the defense to be perfect,” Tudor said.
Next on the docket for the WKU softball squad is the Hilltopper Classic at the WKU Softball Complex. The Hilltoppers will play four games across Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 18-19.
Game 1 | vs. Stephen F. Austin | W, 4-1
Game 2 | vs. Georgia State | L, 13-1 (5)
Game 3 | at Mississippi State | W, 1-0
Game 4 | vs. Georgia State | L, 2-1 (8)
Game 5 | vs. S.F. Austin | W, 2-0
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUSoftball, Instagram @WKU_Softball and Facebook @WKUSoftball.