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Tops Clinch East Division Outright with 7-0 Shutout Over MTSU

(WBKO)
Published: May. 8, 2022 at 10:02 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU Softball closed out its regular season schedule with a 7-0 shutout win over Middle Tennessee to secure a weekend sweep and clinch the Conference USA East Division championship outright. The Hilltoppers would finish with a remarkable 23-2 home record on the 2022 campaign.

“I think it’s great; we came out here and we took care of business,” WKU head coach Amy Tudor said. “It’s hard to sweep any team. I was really proud of our girls and how they performed. We wanted to be hitting on all cylinders going into this tournament and we took care of what we could take care of.”

WKU closed the regular season with a 35-11 overall record – a .761 winning percentage. The Hilltoppers finished 17-7 in C-USA play for the East Division title and a tie for second place in the regular season standings. WKU’s 23 wins on its home field is a program record.

Middle Tennessee’s season ended with Sunday’s loss. The Blue Raiders finished with a 19-34 record.

The Hilltoppers racked up 11 hits in the victory with Brylee Hage leading the way with three hits, coming a home run short of the cycle. Maddie Bowlds and Abby Newman each added two-hit efforts along with two RBI apiece.

Shelby Nunn worked 6.2 innings to earn the win before earning a standing ovation as she left the field. Nunn improved to 21-6 on the year with the decision, here second win of the weekend allowing zero earned runs. She struck out four and allowed no walks. With Sunday’s appearance, Nunn tied the program record for pitching appearances at 145.

WKU took a 2-0 lead after two innings of play. Jordan Ridge led off the frame with a solo home run – her sixth homer of the season. Newman followed with a single before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from TJ Webster. From there, Hage’s triple brought Newman home for the 2-0 lead.

In the next frame, the Red and White added three more hits. Randi Drinnon reached on a single and would take second on an error that allowed the Tops to take a 3-0 advantage. Two batters later, Newman sent a double to the right-center gap to plate both of her teammates and push the margin to 5-0.

WKU went on to add two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Newman led things off with a walk before Hage’s double put two runners in scoring position for Bowlds who would single up the middle to bring the score to 7-0.

In the bottom of the sixth, Ridge drew a four-pitch walk and stole second to put herself in scoring position, which would have ended the game. She would ultimately be stranded.

“I kind of got a little nervous at first because I thought we were going to score in (the sixth) and I was like, ‘Oh no, I wasn’t able to do it,’” Tudor said of taking out the seniors with two outs in the seventh. “They’ve done a lot for our program. Maddie (Bowlds) and Shelby have been here for five years, Jordan (Ridge) four and Bailey (Curry) one, but it’s been a fun one. They’ve done so much for our program, and I felt like they deserved that. It’s a great way to send us out and to get us ready for the tournament.”

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