Hilltoppers win two walk-offs over UAB
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Western Kentucky Softball claimed a pair of walk-off wins over UAB to open the three-game series over the Blazers on Saturday. TJ Webster used a throwing error to score and give the Hilltoppers a 9-1 five-inning run-rule walk-off in game one before Paige Carter delivered an RBI fielder’s choice in the bottom of the seventh for a 7-6 win in game two.
Taylor Davis finished 7-for-8 at the plate on the day and Taylor Sanders connected for a home run in each game.
“We came out focused and ready today,” shared head coach Amy Tudor. “Offensively, I felt like we executed all aspects of the game plan and our pitchers were poised and precise.”
Across the pair of wins, WKU posted a .450 team batting average with 27 hits and 16 runs scored along with 14 RBI.
GAME 1: WKU 9, UAB 1 – FIVE INNINGS
Redshirt-senior Kelsey Aikey drew the start in game one and allowed just two hits through her 4.0 innings of shutout work. She picked up a pair of looking strikeouts and walked three while improving to 4-4 on the season.
Paige Carter led off the day with a double down the left line before moving to third on a Taylor Davis single. Jordan Thomas then stepped into the box and delivered a sac fly to center field that allowed Carter to score for the 1-0 WKU lead.
Two innings later, WKU would send all nine batters to the plate while scoring five runs to take a 6-0 lead in the contest. Davis led off with a single before a Kendall Smith double brought her home. After Jordan Ridge reached on an error, Taylor Sanders sent the second pitch she saw out of the park for a 3-run homer. Two batters later, Brylee Hage sent a triple to the right-center gap before scoring on a single from TJ Webster.
WKU added two more runs in the fourth before walking it off in the bottom of the fifth with a run. Davis would beat out her fourth hit of the game and induce a throwing error from the Blazers to allow Webster to score from second for the run-rule walk-off.
Carter, Smith, and Webster would each finish with a pair of hits in the game while Davis collected the fourth four-hit game of her career.
GAME 2: WKU 7, UAB 6
Redshirt-freshman Katie Gardner drew the start for the Hilltoppers in game two after throwing the final inning of the first contest. After 2.1 innings of work, she would give way to Shelby Nunn who threw the next 2.2 frames. UAB would score all six runs on the pair while only two would wind up being earned due to four Hilltopper errors. Kennedy Sullivan worked the final two frames in the circle and sent the six UAB batters down in order to earn her third win of the season and move to 3-0.
After UAB struck first in the top of the third for a three-run home run, WKU responded with a grand slam off the bat of Carter in the bottom of the frame. Carter’s knock was her fifth of the season and gave the Tops a short-lived 4-3 lead.
UAB knotted the game at 4-4 with a sac fly in the top of the third before Sanders connected with her second home run of the day in the bottom of the frame for a 6-4 Hilltopper lead. Smith would also score on the longball after getting aboard with a one-out single.
In their next trip to the plate, UAB tied it back up at 6-6 where the score would remain until the bottom of the seventh.
Ridge led off the bottom of the seventh with a single before Maddie Bowlds took her place on a fielder’s choice. From there, a Kennedy Foote single followed by another base hit from Webster brought Carter to the plate with two outs. With a 1-1 count, Carter sent a ball to shortstop for a fielder’s choice that saw everyone reach safely as Bowlds would score the winning run on Carter’s fifth RBI of the game.
WKU will look to sweep the series tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. CT.
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