For the third-straight season, WKU Softball kicked off its home slate with a win as the Hilltoppers came from behind to secure a 5-3 victory in the day’s opening tilt against Western Illinois. WIU responded in game two to claim a 3-1 win and move to 4-3 on the season. The Red and White sit at 5-2 on the year entering Sunday’s series finale.
“I thought today we were able to get runners on base, which is a start,” head coach Amy Tudor shared. “In game one, we were able to bring them around to score but in game two we couldn’t find ways to push them across. Overall, we saw different people step up for us, which was good.”
On the day, Kendall Smith went 4-for-6 on the day with a triple and a home run while Jordan Thomas added a 4-for-8 effort with a double and a homer.
Saturday, Feb. 16– WKU def. Western Illinois, 5-3 – Box Score
Saturday, Feb. 16 –Western Illinois def. WKU, 3-1 – Box Score
Sunday, Feb. 17 – WKU vs. Western Illinois – 1 p.m. CT | Livestats
GAME 6: WKU 5, WESTERN ILLINOIS 3
Western Illinois scored first for its sixth-straight game of the season with a run in the first inning. The Leathernecks took advantage of a single off third base followed by a double to the right-center gap to strike first before Kennedy Sullivan struck out the next two batters to get the Hilltoppers back to the dugout.
Sullivan proceeded to retire the next eight batters to keep the Red and White within a tally heading into the bottom of the third inning. In her first plate appearance of the day, Taylor Davis knocked a one-out base hit through the left side to get things going for the Hilltoppers. Jordan Thomas followed with a bunt single before Jordan Vorbrink advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. At that point, Shannon Plese stepped into box and ripped a base hit back up the middle to score both of her teammates and give WKU a 2-1 lead.
In Western Illinois’ next trip to the plate, the Leathernecks struck for a two-run home run to regain the lead at 3-2 in the day’s opening tilt.
The score remained in Western Illinois’ favor until the bottom of the fifth when Jordan Thomas connected for her first home run of the season to even things up at 3-3. The long ball was the second hit of the game for Thomas, marking her second multi-hit outing of the year.
Kendall Smith opened the bottom of the sixth with a triple for WKU’s first leadoff hit of the day. Rebekah Engelhardt followed suit with a triple of her own to give the Hilltoppers the lead. WKU’s next batter, Sullivan, added to the lead with a sacrifice fly for the final 5-3 score.
Sullivan went the distance in the circle for her second complete-game win of the season, moving to 4-0 overall. The victory also marked WKU’s second come-from-behind win of the year.
GAME 7: WESTERN ILLINOIS 3, WKU 1
WIU struck first again in game two, scoring in the top of the fourth with a two-run home run. The shot to centerfield was just the Leathernecks’ second hit of the game. Western Illinois added its third run of the contest in the top of the fifth inning on a deep sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Kelsey Aikey got the nod for game two and worked the first 5.0 innings while striking out three. She allowed three hits and three earned runs. The junior took the loss, moving to 1-2 on the season.
Shelby Nunn took over in the circle in the top of the sixth and struck out the first two batters she faced before forcing a flyout to center field. Nunn worked the final 2.0 frames and allowed just one hit while striking out three of the seven batters she faced.
Kendall Smith led off the bottom of the sixth inning with her third home run of the young season. Smith’s knock was one of two leadoff hits in the game for WKU.
In the bottom of the seventh, WKU picked up two quick outs before Thomas sent a double to the left field corner and moved to third when Taylor Davis reached on an error. The Hilltoppers sent the go-ahead run to the plate but weren’t able to get the ball out of the infield as Western Illinois evened the series at 1-1 with the 3-1 victory.
NEXT GAME: WKU will conclude its three-game series with Western Illinois on Sunday with a 1 p.m. CT tilt. Promotions for the game include Sunday Funday, featuring free admission for all kids 12 and under and there will be a $5 kid’s meal offered at the concession stand. Sundays will also double as Faith & Family Day all year as fans can receive free admission by bringing their church bulletin to the ticket window.
WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations