BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Maddie Bowlds’ first career home run helped the Hilltoppers to
a 4-1 victory over Murray State on Wednesday from the WKU Softball Complex. Kennedy
Sullivan notched nine strikeouts en route to her 16th win of the season in the
circle before Kelsey Aikey locked down her school-record sixth save of the season.
“This win gives us some momentum going into our series against UTSA this weekend,”
head coach Amy Tudor opened. “It’ll be senior weekend for us with our five seniors.
We worked on our mental and physical approach after this weekend [at La Tech] and I
was really pretty of how we bounced back and our resiliency.”
With the victory, WKU is now 34-12 on the season while Murray State drops to 24-25.
The Hilltoppers are 15-3 in outings from the WKU Softball Complex on the season.
Murray State led off the midweek outing with a double off the wall before the Racer
baserunner would advance to third on a wild pitch during the next at bat. After a
lineout to left field and a pair of Kennedy Sullivan strikeouts, WKU stranded the
Murray State runner.
Jordan Thomas led off the bottom of the first with base hit to centerfield before
Paige Carter beat out a bunt single for two quick Hilltopper knocks. Two outs later,
Jordan Vorbrink delivered an infield single to the left side that allowed Carter to
come around to score for a 1-0 WKU lead.
In the bottom of the second, Morgan McElroy drew a one-out hit by pitch before
advancing to second on a Rebekah Engelhardt base hit. WKU’s next batter, Maddie
Bowlds, stepped into the box and with a 1-1 count on her connected for her first
collegiate home run – a three-run shot to right-center field to push WKU’s lead to
Bowlds is the 10th different Hilltopper to connect for a home run this season and
brings the team’s season total to 45 in 46 games.
After Murray State’s leadoff double, the Racers would not record another hit until
the top of the fifth inning. A two-out walk gave the visitors a pair of baserunners
but a called strike out would get WKU back to the dugout unscathed.
In the bottom of the fifth, Engelhardt connected for her second hit of the game –
WKU’s sixth and final knock of the outing. Her 2-for-2 outing was the eighth
multi-hit performance of the season for the senior.
The Racers broke into the scoring column in the top of the sixth after posting two
hits and two walks in the frame, making the score 4-1 before Sullivan notched her
ninth punch out of the day to get WKU back to the dugout.
WKU went down in order in its last trip to the plate before Kelsey Aikey headed out
to the circle in search of three outs. Facing the top of the Racers’ lineup, Aikey
and the Hilltopper defense retired the batters in order to secure the win.
Aikey’s one-inning save marked her WKU single-season record sixth of her junior
campaign. The junior is now up to 12 in her career – already a Hilltopper Softball
record. With six saves and 12 wins in the circle this season, Aikey is in elite
company. She’s one of just three pitchers in the nation with those numbers, joined
by New Mexico State’s Samaria Diaz and
Jacksonville State’s Faiths Sims.
Sullivan earned the win in the circle, improving to 16-4 on the season. She finished
with a line of one run, four hits, five walks and nine strikeouts.
Next game: WKU Softball will close out its regular-season schedule this weekend as
UTSA visits The Hill for a three-game series. Saturday’s first pitch is slated for 1
p.m. CT as the squads plan to play two before the finale commences at the same time
on Sunday. The Hilltoppers’ five seniors will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony