Miami, Fla. – Pitcher Jennifer Kempf notched her second win in as many days against Florida International after holding the Golden Panthers to two runs – one earned – and four hits Sunday at University Park in the Western Kentucky University softball team’s 9-2 victory.
Her performance helped the Hilltoppers capture their opening Sun Belt Conference series against FIU, two games to one, and improve to 8-14 on the season.
Kempf (5-7) tossed 7.0 innings and gave up four hits, two of which came in the third inning when FIU plated a pair of runs. The Golden Panthers (9-17 overall, 1-2 SBC) managed only one hit in the following innings.
An offensive output consisting of 10 hits and nine runs gave Kempf plenty of insurance. Four Hilltoppers – Rachelle Boucher, Ashley Contreras, Rebecca Horesky, and Kelsey McCauley – each had two hits. Boucher also scored two runs.
The Hilltoppers put some small ball together to take a 2-0 lead after one inning of play. Boucher knocked a lead-off single and gained two more bases on consecutive sacrifice bunts by Sam Cronk and Contreras. Both Boucher and Cronk would score when Horesky ripped a double to left-center.
Four more runs in the second frame put the Hilltoppers ahead, 6-2. Boucher’s second hit of the game brought home Terri Ellingsworth, who came in to run for Shelby Smith after Smith singled. A Contreras single plated Renikka Toliver, Lindsay Antone was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Boucher, and Alana Towns was walked which allowed Contreras to cross the plate. FIU’s Kerri Houck got out of the jam by striking out Ellingsworth and left three runners on base.
McCauley crushed a two-RBI double in the seventh to finish the day and gave WKU a 9-2 edge.
Tennessee State hosts the Hilltoppers for a doubleheader on Wednesday (March 14), which will start at 2 p.m. (CDT).