BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In the WKU Softball home-opener, the Hilltoppers did not disappoint as the squad completed a three-run comeback to win the opening game of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic in walk-off fashion. After taking down the defending MAC champions, Miami (OH), 7-6, the Red and White fell to Belmont in the second contest of the day.
“I thought that walk-off win was huge, early in the season, especially after being down in the game,” head coach Amy Tudor said. “I think some of our kids came up with some clutch hits and I really thought we did a nice job overall as a team adjusting to what we were trying to do last weekend.”
The Hilltoppers improved to 4-3 on the young season after split results on the day while three different players register their first homeruns of the season.
GAME 1: WKU 7, MIAMI (OH) 6
WKU Softball used its highest offensive output of the season to win in come-from-behind fashion over Miami (OH) in the Hilltoppers opening game of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Down 4-6 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Jordan Mauch shot a double into the outfield and two pitches later Taylor Proctor sent a two-run shot off of the parking structure just beyond the left field fence – her first ever- to knot the game at 6-6. ¬¬After a Haylee Towers single and steal, Adarian Gray got on base with a five-pitch walk. Freshman Tommi Stowers was called upon to pinch hit and battled to a 2-2 count before sending a shot into left field, scoring Towers from second for the walk-off victory.
“I felt that Jordan [Mauch] was hot all day, along with [Proctor] who had the first homerun of her career,” Tudor shared. “And then Tommi went in to go pinch hit and went deep into the count – I thought they all handled it like veterans while actually not being veterans. Aikey also came in on the mound and shut Miami [OH] down. That game was fun to coach and hopefully fun to watch for the fans.”
Mauch got the Hilltoppers on the board initially in the second inning with a solo bomb to left center. Then, in the fourth frame, Mauch scored once again on a double from Taylor Proctor to trim the deficit to three. The Red and White capitalized inning on a pair Redhawk errors in the fifth, tallying two runs to pull back within two at 6-4 before sealing the deal in the bottom of the seventh.
Kelsey Aikey earned the first decision of her collegiate career after relieving Kathryn Downing in the top of the third inning.
Additionally, Mauch posted her seventh-career multi-hit game, producing a team-high three hits in the opening game including both a homerun and a pair of doubles.
GAME 2: BELMONT 12, WKU 3 (6)
After opening game two with three scoreless innings, WKU got on the board with a big fourth frame. Morgan McElroy walked to start the inning followed by a Towers triple, which knocked in the freshman McElroy. The very next pitch, Gray took one deep to right center for her first career dinger as the Hilltoppers matched their most runs (3) in an inning this year.
WKU would put the pressure on BU again in the following inning as McElroy started things off with a double down the left field line. Gray walked – her third of the day – and Kelsey McGuffin reached first base on an error to load the bases with two outs. But the momentum would come to no avail as a fly out ended the inning.
Belmont would ultimately take the day’s closing game 12-3 in a six-inning decision as Haylee Towers threw her second complete game in the loss, moving to 0-3 on the season in the circle.
“Tomorrow’s a new day, we’re going to go out and build on the things that we did well today and move on from the things that didn’t,” said Tudor.
WKU Softball is back in action on The Hill tomorrow with two more games to wrap up the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic. The Hilltoppers will kick off the day against visiting Western Illinois in a 12:30 p.m. CT tilt. Remaining weekend play will be determined by the results of WKU’s play in the first three games. If the Hilltoppers draw the 1 or 4 seeds, they’ll play at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday, while a 2 or 3 seed would put them in the 5:30 p.m. CT contest.
All-day passes for this weekend’s tournament can be purchased for $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. As always, the Hilltopper flexible season ticket packages are on sale for $25, which includes 25 admittances to WKU Softball games that can be used during the Hilltoppers’ opening weekend on The Hill.
Saturday, Feb. 18 – Miami (OH) defeated Western Illinois 4-3
Saturday, Feb. 18 – Belmont defeated Western Illinois 5-4
Saturday, Feb. 18 – WKU defeated Miami (OH) 7-6
Saturday, Feb. 18 – Belmont defeated WKU 12-3 (6)
Sunday, Feb. 19 – 10 a.m. CT | Miami (OH) vs. Belmont | Livestats
Sunday, Feb. 19 – 12:30 p.m. CT | Western Illinois at WKU | Livestats
Sunday, Feb. 19 – 3 p.m. CT | 1 vs. 4
Sunday, Feb. 19 – 5:30 p.m. CT | 2 vs. 3
How to Follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUSoftball, Instagram @WKU_Softball and Facebook @WKUSoftball.