Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Aikey spun a one-hit gem for Western Kentucky as the Hilltoppers closed weekend play with a 1-0, walk-off victory over Dayton on Sunday.
Western ended the Hilltopper Spring Fling play with a 3-2 record while moving to 14-6 overall after the team’s fourth walk-off win of the season.
In a scoreless pitcher’s duel entering the bottom of the seventh, both teams had only tallied one hit in the game. With one away, freshman Kendall Smith stepped into the box and sent the second pitch she saw down the left-field line for a double.
WKU’s next batter, Rebekah Engelhardt, advanced Smith to third with a shot that the Flyers’ third baseman mishandled to put runners on the corners. Morgan McElroy – the owner of WKU’s lone hit prior to the final frame – stepped into the box and connected with the first pitch she saw for the game-winning base hit to shallow right field that allowed Smith to score.
Aikey carried her no-hit bid into the fifth inning before giving up an infield single. The sophomore hurler punched out five Dayton batters while allowing just a pair of walks.
Aikey’s showing was her second complete-game shutout of the year with her other being an extra-inning no-hitter against Sacred Heart.
A Cedar Falls, Iowa, native, Aikey has now racked up a 4-1 record to go along with two saves on the year. She needed just 98 pitches to take her fourth start of the year the distance.
With early season tournament play wrapped up, WKU will host Southern Illinois Edwardsville at 5 p.m. on Wednesday before opening Conference USA play at Southern Mississippi next weekend.