BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Softball jumped out to an early lead and never looked back
as the Hilltoppers improved to 19-11 on the season with a 6-2 win over defending OVC
champion Jacksonville State Thursday afternoon. The Red and White climbed to 10-5
from the confines of the WKU Softball Complex on the year as seven different
Hilltoppers accounted for the team’s eight hits on the day.
“We set the tone early both defensively and offensively,” head coach Amy Tudor
opened. “I thought we did a good job taking advantage of a few mishaps by
Jacksonville State. I’m proud of how hard our team worked this week in practice and
I think it showed in our play today. Jacksonville State played a hard-fought game
and hats off to them for fighting during this difficult time.”
After Kelsey Aikey struck out the Jacksonville State side to open the day, WKU took
advantage of two first-inning Gamecock throwing errors and took a 3-0 lead in the
frame. Jordan Thomas scored WKU’s first run of the day after a failed pick-off
attempt by the JSU catcher ended up in left field. Brittany Vaughn drove in the
Hilltoppers second and third runs of the frame with a bases-loaded double.
Aikey registered five strike outs before her no-hit bid was broken up with 2.2
innings in the books. JSU would avoid being shut out in the top of the fourth, using
a solo home run to climb within two at 3-1.
WKU responded in the bottom of the fourth with three more runs to push its lead to
6-1. Kendall Smith led things off by reaching on an error before Morgan McElroy
moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. In the box next, Rebekah
Engelhardt knocked a single to right-center field to load the bags before Thomas
stepped into the box and sent a deep sacrifice fly to left field to advance all of
the Hilltopper runners. Maddie Bowlds followed with another base hit to score
Engelhardt before Paige Carter closed out the scoring with a single of her own.
Jacksonville State cut the deficit to four its final trip to the plate with an RBI
double to the left corner, but Shelby Nunn registered the final two outs with a pair
of swinging strikeouts.
Aikey took the decision after tossing 4.1 innings and allowing one run on two hits
with five strikeouts. Nunn worked the final 2.2 innings while recording five punch
outs as well.
NEXT TIME OUT
Next time out, head coach Amy Tudor and company will head to Bloomington, Ind., to
take on its second Power 5 opponent of the season in the Indiana Hoosiers. First
pitch on Tuesday, March 27 is slated for 3 p.m. CT.
* Starting her eighth game of the season, Kelsey Aikey opened the contest by
striking out the Jacksonville State side in the top of the first – looking,
swinging, swinging. The sophomore went on to finish with five punch outs en route to
her sixth (6-2) win of the year.
* Brittany Vaughn’s first inning double was her fourth of the season and
brought WKU’s collective total to 53. The Hilltoppers have now registered a double
in 26-of-30 games this year.
* Freshman Jordan Thomas went 2-for-3 at the plate for her seventh multi-hit
game of the season. She also registered a run and an RBI in the outing.
* At the plate, WKU reached base in 3-of-6 leadoff situations on the day. The
team now owns a 75-for-193 rating (.389) on the season in leadoff opportunities.