Bowling Green, Ky. – Alana Towns collected four hits in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader with Middle Tennessee and added a double in the closer as the Western Kentucky University softball team split its Sun Belt Conference twinbill at the WKU Softball Complex.
WKU took game one, 3-2, with the Blue Raiders earning a 5-3 decision to end the day.
Towns was a perfect 4-for-4 at the dish in the opener – all singles – and Rebecca Horesky chipped in three more of her own.
Three singles loaded the bases for WKU (28-29 overall, 11-12 SBC) in the bottom half of the first. With no outs, Lindsey Vander Lugt (18-19) retired the side to turn away the Hilltoppers empty handed. Vander Lugt finished with five strikeouts and scattered three earned runs on 11 hits while saddling the loss.
In the bottom of the third, Sam Cronk sent her fourth homer of the season to leftfield to put WKU ahead, 1-0.
MTSU (27-28 overall, 13-9 SBC) had an answer in the fourth, as Muriel Ledbetter shot a liner off Horesky’s glove at third which traveled into the outfield and bought enough time for two Blue Raiders to score.
Towns hit a two-out single through the left side in the fifth and stole second before Horesky singled down the leftfield line to push the Hilltoppers’ second run of the game across the plate.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh with the scored tied, 2-2, Terri Ellingsworth led off with a single and WKU added another runner when Rachelle Boucher reached first safely. An infield single to shortstop by Towns left the bases loaded for Horesky, who delivered a walk-off single that fell into centerfield to give WKU its 3-2 win.
Pitcher Jennifer Kempf picked up the victory and moved into the number two spot on WKU’s single season record list for wins with 19 – two shy of Adrienne Lathrop’s mark of 21 set in 2005. Kempf tossed 7.0 innings and yielded only three hits to the Blue Raiders.
Game two started out with WKU taking an early 1-0 lead on Lindsay Antone’s RBI-single to left which scored Shelby Smith in the bottom of the second. Smith started the frame with a double to center.
The Hilltoppers’ lead was short-lived as MTSU proceeded to post four runs on five hits in the third. Martha Davis led the attack with a three-run homer to left-center.
After a scoreless fifth the Hilltoppers chipped into MTSU’s lead with a pair of runs to make the score 5-3. Horesky sent a two-out triple past a diving Kristine Reed in leftfield to plate Towns. Towns started from second after her double down the rightfield line. One batter later, Smith slammed her third hit of the contest – a single up the middle – allowing Horesky to score.
Katie Mielke, Shelby Stiner, and Davis each had mulit-hit performances with two hits apiece. Corrie Abel plated two runs.
MTSU’s Samantha Floyd (7-7) earned the win from the circle with the complete-game effort. Ryan Rogge (9-12) started the contest for WKU and tossed 3.0 innings of six-hit ball. After surrendering four runs, Kempf finished the game and allowed one run on three hits.
The series finale will begin Sunday at noon (CDT).